When doing business in Poland, learn some basic Polish words, like hello “dzien dobry”, good bye “do widzenia”, excuse me “przepraszam”, and thank you “dziekuje”. A basic Polish language guide can help you with proper pronunciation
The standard greeting is a firm handshake. The same applies to farewells. Kissing and hugging are reserved for very good friends.
There is no general rule as to how Polish people address each other. In initial contacts they may use the person’s title or surname however, after two or three meetings the use of first names is welcomed.
Polish people are sensitive to body language and watch it carefully. Avoid overly demonstrative or closed off body language. Smile, be yourself, and be moderately expressive as you speak.
It is good to maintain direct eye contact during a conversation. Be sincere, genuine, and avoid sounding egocentric.
Polish businesspeople love to conduct discussions on a wide range of topics including public life, family and career. To generate conversation, ask open-ended questions starting with who, what, where, when, why, and how.
The more you converse with someone Polish, the more gesture oriented they may become. Typical business standoffishness may eventually transform into a friendly conversation with backslapping!
If you are in a group, avoid conducting private conversations. It is better to involve everyone in the discussion.
Be punctual. If you cannot be on time, be sure to inform everyone about the circumstances which have delayed you, otherwise you may appear unreliable.
When entering a meeting room, wait for your host to indicate where you are going to sit. If there are people you do not know, wait for your host to carry out the introductions.
Polish negotiations tend to be reserved. Periods of silence during negotiations are not unusual. Do not try to fill the silence with unnecessary talk. The essential information is what counts.
The Polish will usually negotiate with a group of individuals rather than just one. If you gain their trust, it will typically be followed up by a contract.
Be thoroughly prepared for any meeting or negotiation, and make sure you have the authority to make concessions from your side.
In addition to Polish, English or German are the languages of most business transactions.
Every kind of meeting starts with some small talk. This socializing allows everybody to relax and make a good impression.
Be patient. In Poland, the decision-making process is slower than in North America. Be prepared to have several meetings before finalizing a business deal.
According to Polish business etiquette, gifts are given at the beginning of a relationship, especially when contacts are made for the first time, and at the end of a successful business venture.
The best gifts are always items which are typical of your culture. If you are from Switzerland, you could buy some carefully chosen chocolate. Another good gift is a book describing your country or the region you are from which adds a personal touch.
If you want to get to know your business partners better, invite them for a cup of coffee, lunch, or dinner. This should be a time to socialize, so don’t bring up business unless they do first.
A toast is usually performed before or after eating. If you propose a toast it is important to maintain eye contact. Do not begin drinking until your host has proposed a toast. If your host stands when proposing a toast, so should you. In Poland the common toast is ‘na zdrowie!’
It is important to show special consideration to the elderly. For example, when public transportation becomes crowded, younger people are expected to give up their seats to the elderly.
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips
· Your home country, city, and way of life
· Your education and work experience
· Humorous anecdotes and stories are always appreciated
· Hobbies and things of personal interest
· Art, music, and culture
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos
· Politics in general, unless they bring it up first
· Emphasizing or boasting about money and wealth
· Avoid speaking with your hands in your pockets
· Religion in general, unless they bring it up first
· Don’t sit with one ankle resting on the other knee
Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for PORTUGAL!
To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the cultural communication styles for Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book
Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success
The CROSS of Cross-Cultural
The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Poland
A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z
Cultural Tips for Poland – including some valuable business travel tips for Poland
This article on cultural differences in Poland and cultural travel tips for Poland is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Poland, tips for communicating in Poland, and business strategies for Poland to help with understanding the culture in Poland. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Poland and tips for intercultural communication!
It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.
Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!
Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Leadership Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customizedtraining programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural Diversity, Customer Service, Leadership Coaching, Presentation Skills, Sales Negotiations, Stress Management, Team building, and Time Management Training.
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