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Quiz: Ice breaking strategies

Everyone needs a few tricks for breaking the ice with new people, a way to start a conversation and make everyone feel included. Try our quiz and see how much you know about tried and tested strategies:
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Knigge International

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Business international: East European Business
Business international: Osteuropa

Breaking stereotypes

Nevertheless, no matter what opinion Western Europeans have, the borders for the European service industry are open and they are not going to close in the near future! When your company takes up a project with a Polish or Slovenian company, what facts do you have at your fingertips?

Business styles

In general, Slovenians and Slovakians combine German efficiency with a Mediterranean gusto for life. Doing business in this part of the world will involve some chit chat at the beginning of meetings to get to know your partners a little first and not just getting down to business immediately. However, being punctual is very important. Raising your voice and interrupting in Slovenia during a negotiation are not acceptable. Respect for others' opinions is shown through attentive listening followed by questions and then putting one's own point across. In Slovakia, it is customary to pay equal attention to all the members of a meeting, not just the most senior figure.

If someone lowers his eyes in negotiations in the Czech Republic, this is not a sign that he is thinking about what you have said but rather feels discomfort at what has been said. Instead of saying "no", Czechs will usually say "it is difficult", as being direct is not a Czech style of communication. The Czech business style has a reputation of being unnerving - potential business associates will not automatically show that they trust what you are saying and will probe for further information to see if you can back it up. Preparing facts carefully and being prepared for a grilling is a good idea!

When you enter a room, it is customary in Poland to wait to be introduced rather than introducing yourself. Similarly to Slovenia and Slovakia, Poles will contemplate what is being said and will not necessarily comment straight away. Periods of silence are therefore not uncommon. Polish businesses have a strong hierarchy and this is reflected in the practice of exchanging business cards and using titles. However, you should be prepared for colleagues greeting each other with three 'air kisses'!

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