When it comes to business, it’s important to acquaint yourself with local customs and etiquette. That way, you can put your best foot forward, make a wonderful impression, and achieve your international business goals. If you’re visiting Eastern Europe in the near future, this article will arm you with the tools you need to knock your meeting out of the park.




A geographically Asian country with a mostly European population, Russia is notorious for its fraught political atmosphere and history of totalitarianism, so don’t be surprised if your Russian associates appear reserved upon initial greeting. It’s always a good idea to shake hands (just not over a threshold–Russians are superstitious about this and believe it can lead to quarreling). Also, remember to remove your gloves before shaking hands, and don’t be shy about passing out business cards. Russians are usually tough negotiators. Hang in there and don’t leave until you’ve got the contract finalized in writing.


Keep in mind that the Russian people are very affectionate, both with members of the opposite sex and same-sex friends. Take back slaps, hugs, and kisses as a sign of affection and approval, and don’t be surprised if your associates stand very close when conversing. Remember to be on time–punctuality is very important to the Russian people–and rehearse pitches ahead of time.




The Polish people are very concerned with formality and tradition, so strive to be as polite and professional as possible. Ensure initial handshakes are firm and accompanied by direct eye contact. If you are met by a group of people, it’s wise to take the time to greet each person individually. Make an effort to address your colleagues by their professional titles, and remember, men should wait for a lady to extend her hand first. Furthermore, men will sometimes greet women by kissing their hands. Take this in stride and be gracious.


If you’ve set an appointment with your Polish colleagues, it’s crucial to be punctual for meetings. First encounters are often used as a “test” to ascertain whether or not you and your company are trustworthy and whether the business relationship will progress.  When corresponding, address letters to the company instead of individual employees.


Once you have started the meeting, engage in small talk and get to know your associates on a more human level. It will help ease any first-impression nervousness and endear you to your hosts.


Finally, when giving presentations, slow down and speak articulately. Polish people are often methodical with their business meetings, and patience is an important skill to bring to your interactions.




The Greek people are generally family oriented and welcoming. As opposed to their Eastern European counterparts, Greek business people are not particularly concerned with punctuality. However, be on the safe side and arrive on time to meetings. There’s a good chance your associate may be “late,” but it’s better to ensure your introduction is a success. Be sure to greet each person individually both when arriving and leaving.


Most Greek business people distrust written and phone correspondence, so make an effort to conduct meetings face-to-face instead! Expect that contracts will often be oral or open-ended agreements. Be prepared to get to know your business associates as friends first, and your affairs will go much more smoothly.




The Turkish people are very patriotic, and like their Greek neighbors, place great importance on family. Expect to shake everyone’s hands and don’t be surprised if close friends and business partners give kisses on the cheek. Make sure to be on time; Turkish people take punctuality very seriously. Also, expect important decisions to be made at the top.


So there you have it. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the tips you need to ensure your stay in Eastern Europe is a success. Safe travels! Be sure to leave your funny traveling stories in the comments section below!