Cultural Clues, Communication Guidelines for AUSTRIA

Cultural Tips for Austria- including some valuable business travel tips for Austria!

Austrian business is based on respect, conservatism, courtesy and formality.

It’s best to dress professionally, and always shake hands when arriving and departing.

Displaying knowledge of Austrian history and culture demonstrates an awareness of the uniqueness of Austria.

Austrians may take offense against anyone who fails to recognize the clear distinction between them and the Germans. Austrian traditions are uniquely Austrian, so appreciate the distinctions.

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.

In business, both German and English are widely spoken.

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 important and often used in introductions.

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 somewhat self-deprecating at the same time.

Keep in mind, however, that humor has no place in formal meetings or in the office where senior staff is present.

Austrians plan their schedules well in advance and try to follow what they have pre-arranged on their calendars.

Expect Austrians to be very punctual, so be sure to return the courtesy. All punctual people dislike wasting time, and Austrians are no exception.

The most senior person(s) in a meeting usually takes the chair and controls the agenda.

There is little room for diverging from the agenda, and less tolerance of improvised discussion, so it is vital to be thoroughly well prepared for all meetings.

Austrians usually take a direct approach to negotiations, and relevant information is shared openly.

Negotiations are serious and important, so keep in mind that this is not the proper forum for humor.

Decision-making can be somewhat slow because Austrians tend to be risk-averse and make decisions methodically with tremendous precision.

Responsibility for decision-making lies mainly with those at the top, and all final decisions have been thoroughly considered.

Since decisions typically do come from the top, any action decided is likely to be implemented rather quickly.

Austrians aim for mutual benefit in all their business dealings and expect their respect and trust to be reciprocated. Agreements with Austrians are solid and can be relied on even in their pre-contract stage.

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • 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’.
  • 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.

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos

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

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for BELGIUM!

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

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The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z

Cultural Tips for Austria – including some valuable business travel tips for Austria

This article on cultural differences in Austria and cultural travel tips for Austria is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Austria, tips for communicating in Austria, and business strategies for Austria to help with understanding the culture in Austria. 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 Austria 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 significant 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 custom training 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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