It is worth paying attention to the following points at business meetings in Estonia:
- In general, business behavior in Estonia is similar to that in the rest of Europe. A handshake before and after a meeting is customary and acceptable. Care should be taken to shake hands with everyone present at a meeting.
- Immediately after shaking hands at the start of the meeting, it is customary to exchange business cards. See that you have a sufficient quantity of business cards.
- The acceptable dress for a business meeting is a business suit for men. Women are recommended to dress fashionably, but not loudly.
- Most business people in large cities in Estonia, particularly those under the age of 30, have a good command of English. Nevertheless, a few words in Estonian will turn the meeting into a warm and friendly encounter. The Estonian word for 'Hello' is 'Tere'. It is recommended that a few words be learned in Estonian to thaw the atmosphere. The presence of a translator will help a business meeting to progress.
- At first meetings, until a contact has been established, Estonians display affection very sparingly, for example: a pat on the shoulder and the like. Nevertheless as the relationship is created, the Estonians are excellent hosts. An excellent place to warm up a relationship is at a meeting in an Estonian pub.
- The Estonian sense of humor is fairly sarcastic. Visitors from Britain will feel at home.
- Estonians are very sensitive as regards Estonian culture. Jokes that may be offensive to their culture should be avoided, The Estonians greatly appreciate talking about their historical heritage.
- Acceptable gifts for business meetings are items for the office, pens (including pens with your company logo) as well as selected wines.
- It takes some time to be able to fix a meeting. Remember that frequently, senior executives acquired their experience in the former Communist regime. Confirm in advance, before the meeting, by fax or letter, that the meeting will take place.
- You are recommended to avoid business meetings in the months of July and August or around the times of national holidays.
Note: The information in this site is for general guidance only. Users of this site are advised to take professional advice before taking practical tax decisions.
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