Archive for August, 2011

The Latest! Cultural Clues: Do’s & Taboos A series of cultural tips for countries from A to Z Communication Guidelines for Austria

Posted on August 19, 2011 by Leave a comment

Austrian business is based on respect, conservatism, courtesy and formality. Dress professionally. Shake hands when arriving and departing.

Displaying knowledge of Austrian history and culture demonstrates an awareness of the uniqueness of Austria. They may take offense against anyone who fails to recognize the clear distinction between them and the Germans.

The only thing that is truly German about Austria is the language and, even then, Austrian German is very different from standard or High German (Hochdeutsch) in vocabulary, idioms, and pronunciation. Mostly German and some English is spoken for business.

In business, courtesy titles Herr (‘Mr.’), Frau (‘Mrs.’) or Fräulein (‘Miss’) followed by the surname are still often used until invited to do otherwise. Educational titles are also widely used.

Austrians expect you to mean what you say and say what you mean. Do not make idle promises during conversation.

Austrians have a great sense of humor, and they will accept your joking so long as you are self-deprecating at the same time. However, humor has no place at a formal meeting or in the office where senior staff is present.

Austrians plan their schedules weeks, even months in advance and try to follow what they have pre-arranged on their calendars. Austrians are scrupulously punctual and expect others to observe the same courtesy at all times.

It is vital to be thoroughly well prepared for all meetings. All punctual people dislike wasting time and Austrians are no exception. The senior person present takes the chair and controls the agenda. There is little room for diverging from the agenda and less tolerance of improvised discussion.

Austrians like a direct approach to negotiations for the most part. A conference room is not the proper forum for humor.

Decision-making can be slow because Austrians tend to be risk-averse and make decisions methodically with tremendous precision. However, because responsibility for decision-making lies mainly with those at the top, it means that any action plan is likely to be implemented immediately. Austrians aim for mutual benefit in their business dealings, and expect their respect and trust to be reciprocated. Agreements are solid even in their pre-contract stage.


Welcome Topics of Conversation

  • Austrian culture, theatre and music, especially classical music, are favorite topics. Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Johann Strauss, Bruckner, Schönberg and Berg were all Austrian.
  • Opera is a great love, especially that of Mozart and Richard Strauss, even though Strauss was born in Munich.
  • The beauty of the architecture of Austria’s cities and local sites, as well as their historical art is always a good topic. Vienna is known as ‘the city of music’.
  • Your international travel to other countries is also of interest.
  • Discussing Austrian winter sports is always well received.
  • Austrian food is appreciated with gusto, has a noted distinction from the typical German food. Show appreciation of their distinct restaurants, beer and wines.
  • Austrian traditions are uniquely Austrian. Appreciate the distinctions.

Conversation to Avoid

  • World War II and Austria’s role in the war can still be a sensitive topic.
  • Anything that leads to a discussion around Anti-Semitism should be avoided.
  • The Austrian religion is predominately Catholic, so different religious view aren’t usually discussed.
  • Austrians are a rather private culture, so talk about separation and divorce is usually avoided. Because of their private nature, Austrians don’t usually discuss money matters outside of business
  • Austrian hospitality is warm with a degree of formality. It is an honor to be invited to an Austrian’s home. Dress well and bring a gift.
  • Talking too much about your education, professional experience, business success, and related achievements may be considered a boasting.


Bon Voyage!

Join Gayle in the future for BELGIUM…


Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert


US: 972-370-1300


Contact Gayle to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle provides her services globally from locations in the US and Europe.


Knowing the communication styles, business strategies and approaches to multi-cultural etiquette can be the difference between success and failure when working or negotiating internationally. Learn to manage ‘culture shock’ and improve your Multi-Cultural Communication. Gayle can assist with all aspects of international sales and negotiations or business management abroad.


Visit the Circles Of Excellence Blog for additional Cross-Cultural Articles!

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Working in Frankfurt, Germany & Geneva, Switzerland!

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Leave a comment

I just returned to Dallas from working in Frankfurt, Germany & Geneva, Switzerland. Summer in Europe is considerably cooler than in Dallas! Check out my website at for all the latest pictures which I will be posting soon!

Coming this month on my Blog!

My new Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for AUSTRIA

My Blog:

My Website:

Coming soon on the Circles Of Excellence Blog!

Watch for our new Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for INDIA

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August 1, 2011 to August 31, 2011

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Leave a comment

Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich Switzerland

Shopping on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, Switzerland for new Keynote Speaking engagements in 2012.

Yvoire, France

Perch dinner (the best in the world!) with my niece and nephew across Lake Geneva in Yvoire, France.

Ecom Trading


Customer Service, Communication, Teambuilding and Executive Coaching Events for Ecom Trading in Dallas, TX

Cross-Cultural Communication, Management and Executive Coaching Events for Towers Watson in Dallas, TX

Working Globally and Global Negotiations Events for Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX

Writing an article on ‘Successful Cross-Cultural Business Communications’ followed by a Video Conference with Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

AMS Media

Editing the DVD series for, ‘5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Business Communications’. The DVD focuses on doing global business in Europe, Asia / Pacific, Latin America and The Middle East. It will be available for online purchase soon!

We will be launching the new CIRCLES OF EXCELLENCE INC website!