Image: Photograph by Sharon Schweitzer in Straznice, Czech Republic

According to the European Commission Spring 2021 European Economic Forecast, as the Czech public health situation improves and containment measures are gradually relaxed, a rebound in economic activity is predicted. As a result, real GDP is forecast to grow by 3.4% in 2021, driven by both domestic and global demand as well as inventory rebuilding. In 2022, the Czech GDP is forecast to accelerate to approximately 4.4%, mainly supported by a rebound in private consumption and investment. This positive news has us preparing for more virtual interaction and our 2022 business travel to the Czech Republic.

  1. Language: Slovak and Polish are the main minority languages spoken in the Czech Republic. If you do not speak Czech, make advance plans for language interpretation or translation services; English speakers may not always be readily available.
  2. Power Distance: Historically, many organizations were bureaucratic with decision-making authority concentrated at the top – employees didn’t have freedom and operated with direct instructions. However, today this overgeneralization isn’t completely accurate across all sectors for numerous reasons, including EU membership, rejection of Soviet principles, and generational differences.  
  3. Hierarchy: A hierarchy structure with parameters tends to make Czechs comfortable so keep this in mind as you prepare agendas, attend meetings, and begin negotiations.
  4. Risk Avoidance: When starting a company, hire a local Czech lawyer to ensure legal requirements are fulfilled, and business is accomplished according to regional and national law.
  5. Currency: The Czech Republic is not a part of the Eurozone yet, so consider the currency and set up your bank account accordingly.
  6. Negotiation: Engage face-to-face when possible, not via email or telephone. Hire a trusted local Czech partner to attend negotiations to grasp the nuances and gather intelligence during pivo drinking sessions at the pub afterward. Resolve disputes outside the negotiating room and without publicly challenging the boss’ authority.
  7. Names and Titles: When meeting or speaking with a Czech counterpart, address them by their occupation and last name, such as Ms. (pani) instructor (instructorka) Anna Cooková.
  8. Plan and Schedule: Cultivate and nourish local Czech contacts within the country; coordinate plans and arrival date with them in advance should you need their help or introductions.

In addition to ours, there are numerous culture tips for doing business in the Czech Republic. We encourage you to continue your journey to learn about Czech mentality, business etiquette, unwritten communication rules, and nuances as you explore this fascinating country virtually or in person.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She is a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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