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Business Practice In Slovenia

 

  • In general, business behavior and atmosphere in Slovenia is similar to that in the rest of Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany.
  • When meeting for the first time, it is expected that you shake hands firmly and introduce yourself with your full name.
  • A handshake before and after a meeting is customary and acceptable.  Shake hands with everyone present at a meeting. It is customary to shake hands first with the women that are present. Handshakes should be firm and confident. Maintain a direct eye contact during the greeting. It is a sigh of respect and interest.
  • During a first meeting, be careful to observe the organizational status of all the Slovenians present. Professional or academic titles are commonly used with the surnames as they denote personal achievement. Others are addressed using the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madame/ Mrs), “Gospodična” (Miss), or “Gospod” (Sir/Mr).
  • Phrases like Thank you” (Hvala lepa), “please” (Prosim), and “with my pleasure” (Prosim lepo) are used very often.
  • It is a good idea to wait until your Slovenian colleague recommends using her/his first nam. Mostly are first names used only among close friends and family.
  • Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual after introduction at the initial meeting.
  • Attend well prepared for the meeting, and bring copies of all documents and presentation material.
  • Exercise good manners in all business interactions.
  • As in most European countries, a handshake should be extended when leaving as a way of confirming what has been discussed and solidifying your friendship. Leaving without greeting with »Nasvidenje« or »Adio«, is considered impolite.
  • The acceptable dress for a business meeting is a business suit for men. Women are recommended to dress fashionably, but not loudly.
  • Most business people in large cities in Slovenia speak very well English and some are fluent in German and Italian as well.
  • Acceptable gifts for business meetings are items for the office, pens (including pens with your company logo) as well as selected wines.
  • Anti-smoking Law:  Smoking is forbidden in public places.

Business meetings

Meetings typically start after some minutes with small-talk. Make sure this is not rushed as it is all part of the relationship building process. Slovenes prefer to do business with those they know and trust. Expect your Slovene business colleagues to be somewhat reserved and formal initially. It may take several meetings to establish a sense of rapport and relaxed attitude between people.

Business decision-making processes are often based on hierarchy.