Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business In Greece - Answers & Video

Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business In Greece

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Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business in Greece

Doing business in Greece requires an understanding of the country’s unique cultural etiquette. Greek business culture is influenced by its rich history, traditions, and social norms. This article will guide you through the essential aspects of conducting business in Greece, covering topics such as greetings, communication style, business attire, punctuality, business meetings, and negotiations, among others.

Greetings and Politeness

In Greece, greetings play a vital role in business interactions. Handshakes are the most common form of greeting, accompanied by direct eye contact and a warm smile. Greeks appreciate a firm handshake, but it should not be overly strong or prolonged.

  • Titles and Names: Greeks often use titles along with the person’s name. It is advisable to address individuals using their professional titles until invited to use their first names.
  • Personal Space: Greeks tend to stand close to each other during conversations. Respect personal space, but be prepared for a closer proximity than you may be accustomed to.
  • Gift Giving: Gifts are not typically exchanged during business meetings, but if invited to someone’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift, such as wine or chocolates.
  • Respect for Elders: Greek culture places great importance on respecting elders. Show deference and listen attentively to older individuals during business interactions.

Communication Style

Greek communication is often direct and expressive. Understanding the nuances of Greek communication style is crucial for successful business interactions.

  • Non-Verbal Communication: Greeks use gestures and facial expressions to convey their thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to these non-verbal cues to better understand the context of the conversation.
  • Volume and Tone: Greeks are known for speaking loudly and passionately. Do not mistake this for aggression; it is simply a cultural trait.
  • Interrupting and Overlapping Speech: Interruptions and overlapping speech are common in Greek conversations. It is not considered rude but rather a sign of active participation.
  • Indirect Communication: Greeks may use indirect language to express disagreement or criticism. It is essential to read between the lines and understand the underlying message.

Business Attire

Greek business attire is typically formal and conservative. Dressing appropriately demonstrates respect for the business environment and helps create a positive impression.

  • Men’s Attire: Men should wear suits in dark or neutral colors, accompanied by a tie. A well-groomed appearance is crucial, including polished shoes and minimal accessories.
  • Women’s Attire: Women should opt for conservative business suits or dresses. Skirts should be knee-length or longer, and accessories should be minimal and tasteful.
  • Summer Attire: In warmer months, lightweight fabrics and lighter colors are acceptable. However, maintain professionalism and avoid overly casual attire.
  • Personal Presentation: Greeks value personal grooming. Ensure your appearance is clean, neat, and professional.

Punctuality and Time Management

Greek culture has a more relaxed approach to punctuality compared to some other cultures. However, it is essential to respect your business partners’ time and be mindful of deadlines.

  • Arriving Late: While Greeks may have a more flexible view on punctuality, it is still best to arrive on time for business meetings. However, be prepared for others to arrive slightly late.
  • Flexibility with Time: Meetings may not always start or end at the scheduled time. Be patient and adaptable, as discussions and socializing may occur before getting down to business.
  • Follow-Up: After meetings, promptly follow up with any required documentation or actions to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to the business relationship.

Business Meetings and Negotiations

Business meetings in Greece often involve building relationships and establishing trust. Understanding the cultural expectations will help you navigate these interactions effectively.

  • Building Relationships: Greeks value personal connections and trust. Take the time to build relationships through small talk and socializing before diving into business discussions.
  • Hierarchy and Respect: Greek business culture has a hierarchical structure. Show respect to senior members and defer to their authority during meetings.
  • Agenda and Flexibility: While an agenda may exist, be prepared for discussions to veer off-topic. Greeks appreciate flexibility and may prioritize relationship-building over strictly following an agenda.
  • Negotiation Style: Negotiations in Greece often involve passionate discussions, and decisions may take time. Be patient, maintain a respectful tone, and focus on building a win-win solution.

Business Dining and Socializing

Sharing a meal is an integral part of Greek business culture and provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships and discuss business matters in a more relaxed setting.

  • Invitations: Accepting a business dinner invitation is a sign of respect and trust. It is considered impolite to decline unless there is a valid reason.
  • Table Manners: Familiarize yourself with Greek dining etiquette, such as using utensils properly and not starting to eat until the host begins.
  • Toast and Cheers: Greeks often toast before or during a meal. Wait for the host to initiate a toast and clink glasses with everyone at the table.
  • Small Talk and Socializing: Business dinners provide an opportunity for informal conversations. Engage in small talk and show interest in Greek culture and traditions.


Doing business in Greece requires an understanding of its cultural etiquette. By respecting Greek customs and traditions, building relationships, and adapting to the communication style, you can navigate business interactions successfully. Remember to be patient, flexible, and show genuine interest in Greek culture and values.

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