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Business Culture

Hungary - Business Culture

Hungarian business culture is quite formal, and Hungarians can initially be reserved when dealing with new business contacts. Personal contacts and networks are important here and you should consider appointing a local representative to arrange introductions, and to guide you in Hungarian business protocol.

Business relationships are built on trust and familiarity, and often involve much socialising outside the workplace. Business lunches and dinners are common, but are just for getting to know people, formal negotiations are not normally held over meals.

It is essential to make appointments for meetings in advance, and confirm them in writing. Although many Hungarian businesspeople can speak English or German, but some may not and you should arrange for the services of an interpreter if necessary. It will be appreciated if you translate your written materials and business cards into Hungarian.

Normal business attire consists of formal business suits with ties for men and suits or conservative dresses for women.

A handshake is the normal business greeting, and business cards are exchanged on meeting. Hungarian society is status conscious, and you should always address people by their professional or academic titles, or by their personal titles and their surname.

Presentations should be thorough and accurate. Hungarians have an analytical approach to business and like lots of background information and hard facts. Avoid hype and exaggeration, which will be treated with suspicion.

Hungarian communication styles can be indirect as they prefer to use tact rather than give an outright refusal or disagreement with something. On the other hand, they will criticize or argue a point if necessary, and regard debate as healthy in generating new ideas. Their attention to detail and the complex Hungarian bureaucracy mean that negotiations and decision-making can be slow and protracted. Agreements are always confirmed in writing.

It is not normal practice to exchange gifts in Hungarian business culture. If you are invited to a Hungarian home you should bring a small gift such as chocolates, wine or flowers, but avoid roses and chrysanthemums, which are associated with romance and funerals respectively.

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