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Business Culture

Romania - Business Culture

Romanian business culture is quite formal and hierarchical, with great importance being placed on courtesy, and on respect for older or more senior people.

Romanians are quite reserved and often wary of strangers, so it can initially be difficult to develop good business relationships. Once you have gained their respect and trust, however, Romanians are generally warm and friendly, and will help you to navigate Romania's complex business bureaucracy.

Romanian is the official language, but business is also often conducted in English, French or German.

You should make appointments several weeks in advance, and turn up on time. Normal business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Avoid the summer months, and the Christmas and Easter periods, when many business close for an extended period. Business attire should be formal.

The normal business greeting is a firm handshake with good eye contact, but you should only shake hands with a woman if she initiates the gesture. It is common for older Romanian men to kiss a woman's hand as a sign of respect. Close friends often hug or kiss on both cheeks on meeting. Business cards are usually exchanged, and one side of your card should be translated into Romanian.

Titles are important in Romania: you should always address people by their professional or academic title with their name, or "domnul" (Mr) or "doamna" (Mrs or Ms), along with their family name. It is unusual to use first names in Romanian business.

Meetings are usually quite formal, and often dominated by the senior decision-maker. There is little small talk or informal discussion, and since Romanians value their privacy you should not ask for personal information. Communication styles are direct and frank, but also sensitive and courteous, with care being taken not to offend people.

Presentations should be thorough and well-structured, with lots of supporting evidence and data. Avoid high-pressure sales techniques, which will be seen as aggressive. Romanians value modesty, and are not impressed by bragging or exaggerated claims.

Decisions are normally made at a senior level, and the implementation of decisions can be a lengthy process due to the bureaucracy.

It is not normal practice to give gifts in Romanian business culture, but if invited to a Romanian home you should take a small gift of flowers, chocolates or liquor.

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