By Sandra Federspiel
Russia, also known as the Russian Federation, is the largest country in the world and has a large population with over 140,000,000 people. Russia is a vast and diverse nation that after several decades of communism continues to evolve politically and economically. With one of the world’s largest resources of raw materials, Russia is a great partner for trade.
Business culture in Russia
Many people who trade with Russia find that patience is an extremely important virtue among Russians. Punctuality is not as important. Social events are more relaxed than we are used to. It can be acceptable to be 15 to 30 minutes late, although we do still recommend turning up on time! It can be difficult to do business in Russia without help from a local. To help overcome this, gifts and/or the personal touch are a good idea when doing business in Russia, to break down barriers.
Personal and informal contact is a central part in doing business in Russia. Physical contact during business meetings, for example a simple hand on the arm, or even embracing is a positive sign. In situations of conflict (e.g. a hard negotiation) try to avoid taking an official stance and remember that Russians are ‘people orientated‘ and will respond to a more personal approach.
Formal meetings tend to be very structural and serious. The dour image associated with many Russian negotiators stems from the belief that formal meeting is a serious affair and should be treated accordingly. Humor is seldom used in such serious situations.
First Name or Title?
Very intimate friends or relations refer to one another by the first name. But for business dealings, titles are better used. Ensure that you learn the titles of everyone you plan to meet. Russians have three names: the first name is a given name the last name is the father´s family name, the middle name is a version of the father´s first name.
If you want to make a success of your business venture into Russia be aware of the business culture. Russia has a lot of potential and by getting it right, you could stand to gain excellent new customers.
Would you do business in Russia? And if so, what experience did you make ?
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