Doing business in Hungary can vary a lot for someone coming from America. Learn about the cultural differences in business practices and why we love it.

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Are you looking to make business connections in Hungary?

You may be at the top of your game when it comes to business relations in the United States.

It’s important, though, that you are aware that ‘business as usual’ is different in Hungary.

Knowing the following cultural differences could be the difference between making a deal and heading back home empty-handed.

  1. Making Contact

The first contact is usually by telephone with a follow-up email.

You’ll need to make an appointment at least two months ahead of time. And keep in mind that it can be difficult to schedule meetings on Friday afternoons from mid-July to mid-August, as well as mid-December to mid-January.

Once you establish a meeting, it’s necessary to confirm it in writing.

You will have better luck if you’re introduced by a known and trusted person such as a local representative. Plus, he or she can guide you through the business protocol.

  1. Greeting

Upon meeting a new business prospect, a firm handshake is the accepted greeting.

State your name and be sure to engage in direct eye contact. Also, present your business card. One side of the card should be translated into Hungarian while the other side is in English.

Hungarian style cards usually have the same business information and personal details as a standard American card. Where they differ is that they occasionally have advanced university degree information too.

Unless asked to do otherwise, address your counterparts by their titles and family names.

  1. Punctuality

Punctuality in the business world is crucial in Hungary.

So when you’re preparing for a meeting, take into consideration travel time to get there and leave plenty of room for potential delays.

If able, get to the venue about 10 minutes before the scheduled time of the meeting.

Public events, on the other hand, rarely begin on time. So if you’re slightly late in this situation, it’s not going to affect the final result of your business negotiation.

  1. Giving Gifts

While you’re more than welcome to offer a small corporate gift or souvenir representing your home country, Hungarians don’t expect gifts (except at Christmas).

Of course, if you’re invited to dinner at the home of a business partner, it’s common courtesy to bring liquor, chocolates or flowers.

If you’re opting for flowers though, steer clear of red roses, lilies, and chrysanthemums as they are associated with funerals. Also, don’t give an odd number of flowers. It’s considered bad luck.

  1. Dress Code

At this point, you’ve probably noticed that the differences between Hungarian and American business practices are subtle.

Employees work at the same desks, deal with the same stress, check Facebook on their lunch hour, get their paystubs through Paystub Creator, etc.

The dress code is also not vastly different.

Generally speaking, dark colors are reserved for the colder winter months while lighter colors are acceptable during the summer. Just be sure they’re neat and clean.

Cultural Differences Matter

Before you engage in any business interactions with citizens of a foreign country, it’s critical that you are aware of the cultural differences.

It demonstrates honor and respect; sought-after qualities in the business world.

And for the latest on what’s happening in and around Hungary, keep checking back with us!

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