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Business Etiquettes in Austria
 
 
 
 
 

General

First impressions are important and you will be judged on your clothing and demeanour. Although Austrians prefer third-party introductions, they do not need a personal relationship in order to do business.

They will be interested in any advanced university degrees you might have as well as the amount of time your company has been in business. Austrians show deference to people in authority, so it is imperative that they understand your level relative to their own.

It is imperative that you exercise good manners in all your business interactions. There is little joking or small talk in the office as they are serious and focused on accomplishing business objectives/goals.

Communication is formal and follows strict rules of protocol. Always use the formal word for you 'sie' unless invited to use the informal 'du'. Address people by their academic title and surname. You may be referred to simply by your surname. This is not a culture that uses first names except with family and close friends. Austrians are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound too good to be true, or displays of emotion.

In many situations, Austrians will be direct to the point of bluntness. This is not an attempt to be rude, it is simply indicative of their desire to move the discussion along. Expect a great deal of written communication, both to back up decisions and to maintain a record of discussions and outcomes.

Business Meeting Etiquette

  • Appointments are necessary and should be made 3 to 4 weeks in advance when meeting with private companies.
  • Do not try to schedule meetings in August, the two weeks surrounding Christmas, or the week before Easter.
  • Punctuality is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation.
  • It is extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and it could ruin your business relationship.
  • Meetings are formal.
  • Presentations should be accurate and precise.
  • Have back-up material and be prepared to defend everything: Austrians are meticulous about details.
  • Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times. If you have an agenda, it will be followed.
  • Follow-up with a letter outlining what was agreed, what the next steps are, and who is the responsible party.
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