Netherlands

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Business etiquette

Business etiquette

Building Relationships & Communication

.Many Dutch are familiar with doing business with foreigners since the Netherlands has a long history of international trade.
.They will want to know your academic credentials and the amount of time your company has been in business.
.The business community is rather close and most senior level people know one another.
.Older, more bureaucratic companies may still judge you by how you are introduced so it is wise to have a third-party introduction if possible, although it is not mandatory.
.The important thing is to demonstrate how your relationship would be beneficial for both sides.
.The Dutch take a long-term perspective when looking at business, so be clear what your company's intentions are.
.Since the Dutch value their personal time, do not ask them to work late or come in over the weekend if you want to foster a good working relationship.
.The Dutch are hospitable, yet this is often reserved for family and friends.  In business they tend to be reserved and formal.
.They do not touch one another and appreciate it when those they do business with maintain the proper distance, do not demonstrate emotion or use exaggerated hand gestures.
.The Dutch are extremely direct in their communication.
.They may sound blunt if you come from a culture where communication is more indirect and context driven.
.They do not use hyperbole, and likewise they expect to be told yes or no in clear words.
.In general, ideas will be discussed quite openly at meetings, with everyone entitled to their opinion.
.Information is shared across departments and corporate strategies and goals are usually communicated to all employees, especially in more entrepreneurial companies.
.Decisions are often consensus-driven in these cases.
.Always appear modest and do not make exaggerated claims about what you or your company can deliver.
.Your word is your bond and making claims that later prove to be untrue will brand you as unreliable.

Business Meeting Etiquette

.Do not try to schedule meetings during the summer (June through August), as this is a common vacation period.
.Punctuality for meetings is taken extremely seriously.
.Being late may mark you as untrustworthy and someone who may not meet other deadlines.
.If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation.
.Cancelling a meeting at the last minute could jeopardize your business relationship.
.Meetings are rather formal in nature. Little time is spent on pleasantries.
.Meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times. Do not attempt to deviate from the agenda.
.Maintain direct eye contact while speaking.

Negotiations

.The Dutch prefer to get down to business quickly and engage in relatively little small talk.
.Communication is direct and to the point, and may seem blunt.
.Make sure your arguments are rational as opposed to emotional.
.Use facts and figures to confirm your statements.
.Business is conducted slowly. The Dutch are detail-oriented and want to understand every innuendo before coming to an agreement.
.Decision-making is consensus driven. Anyone who might be affected by the decision is consulted, which greatly increases the time involved in reaching a final decision.
.Avoid confrontational behaviour or high- pressure tactics.
.Once a decision is made, it will not be changed.
.Contracts are enforced strictly.
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Source: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/netherlands.html