Ireland – A Surprising Gateway
The Republic of Ireland is a vibrant business community and is rated amongst the best countries to do business in.
In the Republic, business etiquette is less formal than in Northern Ireland – where the protocols are more aligned to the English way of doing business. Irish businesspeople are more relaxed than in many European countries. Handshakes with everyone are normal at the beginning and end of meetings. Smiling is important and business cards are exchanged without any formal ritual.
Getting onto first name terms early in the relationship is usual as the Irish are more casual in their business approach. They have turned speaking into an art form and tend to be lyrical and poetic with the use of stories and anecdotes to relay information and they value a well-crafted message. How you speak says a lot about you in Ireland.
Modesty is important so, when discussing professional achievements, it is best to casually insert the information in short snippets during several conversations rather than embarking on a long self-centred outline of personal successes.
Company or organisational cultures differ widely in Ireland. As a result, meetings vary in their approach and substance. Meetings may be structured or unstructured. It is customary to have a period of small talk before the actual meeting, which is when rapport is built. Meetings may occur in a variety of venues, not merely the office. It is quite common to conduct a business meeting in a restaurant or pub. This allows all participants to be on equal footing.
Anticipate a great deal of discussion and everyone is expected to participate and they do, often at great length. The Irish like to engage in verbal banter and pride themselves on being able to view a problem from every angle. Business is taken seriously but the approach can be very casual.
As an added bonus, if you are travelling to the USA you can go through Shannon Airport, where you can clear immigration and customs before you embark, so saving time when you arrive in the States!
Share your Irish business experiences.