BRAIN FOOD: A passport to Greece

BRAIN FOOD: A passport to Greece - The prejudice: We see them as cultured, generous and self-reliant; they see us as cold, reserved and formal.

by DR FRANK BURDETT, language and culture for business programme,www.lcb.org.uk
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The prejudice: We see them as cultured, generous and self-reliant; they see us as cold, reserved and formal.

Best foot forward: Progress in business depends on personal trust, so make face-to-face contact whenever possible. Many companies have one all-powerful boss and this is the person to focus on. A few words of Greek will be well received, as the spoken word is preferred to paper or e-mail.

Put your proposals energetically and speak with authority, but do not try to dominate.

Dress code: An air of authority is important for a first meeting, so dress smartly in a good suit. But don't be surprised if your hosts are less formally attired.

The main event: Punctuality is not a prime consideration, but avoid being seriously late. In meetings there is often no formal agenda or minutes, and signing a contract or document is not necessarily a final act - just a step along the way. Be prepared for animated discussions: strong opinions are frequently voiced.

Table manners: The Greeks are truly hospitable and generous, and you may well be invited home for a meal. Accept immediately, as a refusal will be considered rude. Remember to take a gift, such as sweets or flowers.

Do say: Food and family life are popular conversation topics. And show an interest in Greek history and culture.

Don't say: 'I'd like a Turkish coffee'.

Signs of success: Your progress can be measured by the affability of your host. If he/she becomes increasingly friendly, you are doing well.

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