Czech Republic: Conversation

2015-06-12

General Guidelines

Do not interrupt or raise the level of your voice during business discussions with your Czech colleagues, as this behaviour may be perceived as an attempt to distract from the matter at hand.

Maintain direct eye contact while speaking, but don’t expect close eye-contact from their side.

Respect your Czech counterparts’ sense of personal space. Close personal contact with business acquaintances is frowned upon and should be avoided at all times.

Don’t refuse any invitation offered to you, as crucial business decisions are often made outside the business environment. The Czechs value hospitality as a means through which to build both personal and business relationships.

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Try to distinguish between formal and informal language and situations that will allow you to select appropriate forms of address and greetings.

Don’t be surprised if your Czech counterparts ask you about your personal earnings. This is still an acceptable line of enquiry to strangers in the Czech Republic.

Expect to participate in some form of small talk and introductory conversation before entering into business discussions with your Czech colleagues.

It is not common to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the Czech Republic. Initiating contact with strangers, even smiling, may be perceived as a genuine sign of affection or an invasion of a Czech’s personal boundaries.

Czechs are both formal and somewhat indirect in their communication.

They try not purposely to offend and will often go out of their way to protect someone’s feelings.

Czechs are non-confrontational and often take an indirect approach to business dealings.

If they lower their eyes and become silent, they are uncomfortable with something you have said.

Many things (as well as serious topics) become subjects of humour to Czechs.

Welcome Topics of Conversation

Weather,

Your home country or city,

Your work experience (perhaps adding some humorous anecdotes),

Hobbies and sport (i.e. golf, tennis),

Art.

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Topics to Avoid

Extremely serious topics (global problems, i.e. war, the nuclear issue, pollution),

Politics,

Money (even if Czechs are rich they don’t talk about their wealth),

The old communist regime,

EU.