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Business etiquette

Business etiquette

Meeting and Greeting

. Irish businesspeople are generally less formal and more outwardly friendly than in many European countries.
. Shake hands with everyone at the meeting.
. Handshakes should be firm and confident.
. Shake hands at the beginning and end of meetings.
. Make sure to smile!
. The Irish are generally rather casual and quickly move to first names.
. Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions without formal ritual.
. Many businesspeople do not have business cards, so you should not be offended if you are not offered one in return.

Communication Style

. The Irish have turned speaking into an art form. Their tendency to be lyrical and poetic has resulted in a verbal eloquence. They use stories and anecdotes to relay information and value a well-crafted message. How you speak says a lot about you in Ireland.
. The Irish appreciate modesty and can be suspicious of people who are loud and tend to brag. They dislike a superiority complex of any sort. So, for example, when discussing your professional achievements it is best to casually insert the information in short snippets during several conversations rather than embarking on a long self-centred outline of your successes.
. Communication styles vary from direct to indirect depending upon who is being spoken to. There is an overall cultural tendency for people to view politeness as more important than telling the absolute truth. This means that you may not easily receive a negative response. When you are being spoken to, listen closely. A great deal may be implied, beyond what is actually being said. For example, if someone becomes silent before agreeing, they have probably said “no”. They may also give a non-committal response. This may be due to the fact that the Gaelic language does not have words for “yes” or “no”. There is a tendency to use understatement or indirect communication rather than say something that might be contentious.
. Generally speaking they do not like confrontation and prefer to avoid conflict, which they attempt to avoid by being humorous and showing good manners.

Business Meetings

. Company or organisational cultures differ widely in Ireland. As a result you may find meetings vary in their approach and substance. In one setting the purpose of a meeting is to relay information on decisions that have already been made, whereas in another it may be the time to get feedback and input.
. Following on from this, meetings may be structured or unstructured. In most cases they will be relaxed. It is customary to have a period of small talk before the actual meeting which is when a rapport is built to take forward into the meeting.
. Meetings may occur in several venues, not merely the office. It is quite common to conduct a business meeting in a restaurant or pub. This allows all participants to be on equal footing.
. Expect a great deal of discussion at meetings. Everyone is expected to participate and they do, often at great length. The Irish like to engage in verbal banter and pride themselves on being able to view a problem from every angle.