Cultural Training in Italy
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Cultural Training in Italy
Doing business in Italy isn't like going on holiday: don't expect to get by with knowledge of a few words, and don't assume business is conducted in the same way universally.
But how can you properly prepare to start a business in Italy? There are many cultural training companies and schools which can help you. They offer cross-cultural grounding, bridging the translatory and protocolic gaps between nations and people.
Providing guidance in all areas of business and sociality, these cultural training companies are experts when it comes to negotiation training; management training; and diversity training. All training, of course, can be country-specific.
Tutorials can take many forms, so investigate which will be right for you and, if necessary, your employees.
Business Etiquette in Italy
The formalities and informalities; the how d'you dos and how d'you don'ts. Etiquette is one of the foundations of modern civilisation, and business is no exception. A business blunder, in some countries, could mean the difference between a deal and disrepute. Again, its all about culture if not adopting, at least recognising and respecting the traditions and protocols of a people.
Business people should not rely on being able to communicate in English, whether written or spoken. Major companies do have staff that are fluent in English, but do not count on it. English is also more widely spoken in the North than further South. Initial correspondence as well as product literature and tender documents should be translated into Italian by a professional, and followed up by e-mail, fax or by a telephone call.
When meeting people greetings are enthusiastic and quite formal. Wait until invited to move to a first name basis. A third party introduction is essential, as Italians prefer to do business with people they know and trust. Your business colleagues will be eager to know something about you as a person before conducting business with you. Networking can be an almost full-time occupation in Italy. Personal contacts allow people to get ahead.
Italians are extremely expressive communicators. They tend to be wordy, eloquent, emotional, and demonstrative, often using facial and hand gestures to prove their point.
It is common to be interrupted while speaking or for several people to speak at once. People often raise their voice to be heard over other speakers, not because they are angry.
In the north, people are direct, see time as money, and get down to business after only a brief period of social talk. In the south, people take a more leisurely approach to life and want to get to know the people with whom they do business. Allow your Italian business colleagues to set the pace for your negotiations. Follow their lead as to when it is appropriate to move from social to business discussions. Never use high-pressure sales tactics
Punctuality is a vague concept, above all in the South of the country.
Dressing well is a priority in Italy. Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits. Women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses. Elegant accessories are equally important for men and women.