WORKING ABROAD / NOV. 13, 2014
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How to Master Business Etiquette in Estonia

As your career evolves, you might be traveling to different countries for business meetings, or you might decide to move to another country for a new job. No matter what your situation, you will need to perform a little research into that country’s business etiquette. One such country where you will need to research business etiquette is Estonia, which is located in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. 

Communication in Estonia

The native language is Estonian. One of the most important aspects of the business world is how people communicate. No matter where you travel to do business, communication is tantamount to your success. When traveling to Estonia, you will find that Estonian people are direct when talking about business. They do not partake in small talk and what they say is what they mean.

Even though Estonians are known to speak their minds, they will make it a point to temper their discussions if they feel it will hurt a relationship, either friendly or of a business nature. As you speak with Estonians, be sure you are not overly emotive because it could negatively impact your relationship as they are not overbearing speakers.

Greeting Others in Estonia

When you greet someone while doing business in Estonia, the man should always initiate the greeting with a woman. Also younger people should initiate greetings with the elder people during discussions. Use titles when appropriate and have business cards on hand that are translated into the local language. Remember that unlike the USA and the UK, business is very old-fashioned in Estonia, so you want to consider this when traveling there for business meetings and other reasons. Have a team of both males and females available. 

Estonia Business Meetings 

If you have a business meeting scheduled with someone from Estonia, make sure you schedule it in a formal setting. The most senior-level member in attendance at the meeting will open it with a speech and introductions of others who are in attendance.

The senior member of your business team should then give a speech and introduce everyone in attendance from your team. This person should also thank those meeting with them from Estonia. If any small talk occurs, it will be very short and kept to simple topics.

Send your agenda ahead of the meeting and have all documents translated into Estonian so there is no wasted time when the meeting is supposed to commence. All presentations should include visual aides to support the discussion taking place. All facts and figures should be 100 percent accurate so you do not waste the time of anyone in attendance. Estonian’s are very efficient and friendly people in general, so these efforts will help to streamline meetings. 

Other Estonia Business Etiquette Tips

Some other tips for Estonia business etiquette include making eye contact when shaking hands, never greet anyone while seated, do not call anyone by their first name unless invited by them to do so and treat everyone’s business card with respect.

By taking a little time to research the people and culture of Estonia, you will find that your business dealings run much smoother.

 

Image: iStock

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