If you're traveling to Cyprus on business, you might be excited to check out a few local sights while you're in town. But before you can hit the touristy spots and unwind a bit, you'll need to survive your business meeting.
Whether you're attending a conference or giving a presentation, a good first impression plays a major role in how others perceive you. And unfortunately, being a visitor doesn't excuse poor business etiquette. The more you know about the business culture in Cyprus, the better. For that matter, here are a few tips to help you master basic business etiquette.
Meeting Etiquette in Cyprus
- Cypriots prefer face-to-face meetings when discussing business matters. Speaking over the phone or sending an email is considered too impersonal.
- Always schedule an appointment in advance. If you have a good working relationship with a company head or colleague, it would be acceptable to drop by his or her office unannounced.
- It is important to arrive on time for meetings and appointments, although you host may keep you waiting.
- Understandably, you may be eager to start your discussion. However, it is appropriate for the host to start and end a business meeting. Also, business people tend to engage in small talk before getting into the agenda. This is how they establish personal, business relationships.
- It might be considered rude to interrupt a meeting in your country. This isn't the case in Cyprus. In fact, meetings may be interrupted multiple times; and oftentimes, meetings veer off course. Therefore, it's important that you remain patient and go with the flow.
- Cypriots rarely accept the first offer put on the table. As skilled negotiators, they'll fight to get the best deal or bargain. Therefore, if you make any type of offer, allow plenty of wiggle room for negotiation.
- Don't anticipate decisions after the initial meeting. The purpose of a meeting is to discuss ideas and get information. If a decision needs to be made, this takes place at another time.
- Cypriots show respect and admiration to individuals in authority. Communication tends to be less formal when speaking with colleagues on the same level.
Professional Dress Code
Business and business casual attire is acceptable in most settings. For men, appropriate attire consists of dark colored suits with a tie and shirt. Women can wear dark business suits as well, or a dress, skirt, blouse and accessories.
Title and Business Cards
It is appropriate to address others by their professional title followed by their surname. If you don't know the person's title, use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. only use a person's first name after receiving permission. There are not any specific customs regarding business cards. However, if you receive a business card, you should treat the card with respect and keep it in a safe place.
Gifts are not expected in business settings, but they are appreciated. You can choose to wrap a gift, or leave it unwrapped. Recommended gifts include chocolates, pens or a souvenir from your country. Gifts are not opened immediately.
It is important to respect personal space when engaging in business discussions. A distance of about arm’s length is appropriate. Touching is reserved for close friends and family, although it is common to shake hands on the initial meeting.
Business lunches, dinners and social outings help build a trusting relationship. If you're invited to a colleague's house for a meal, compliment the home upon arriving. Shake hands with everyone upon arriving and remain standing until you're invited to take a seat.
If you've traveled to Cyprus on business, what surprised you about the business culture?
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