The Czechs are structural people, and like people who have a structural approach. That’s why it is recommended to be well prepared for a meeting. It’s good to exceed the language barrier and use the service of a translator, to translate your handouts and other material, like facts and figures.
The meeting may start with a few short jokes to break the ice. After the jokes it is accustomed to continue down to business. Just like the people are formal, you can expect that the meetings are also formal and orderly. The Czechs commit much value to hierarchical structure, so negotiations are done with the highest ranked person in the organisation.
The Czechs are normally very structured, so it’s accustomed that the Czechs don’t comply immediately. To increase your chances for a good outcome, stay polite and keep good structure in your meetings (Bark and Van Ek, 2012).
Generally it is the decision maker or the eldest person who conducts the negotiation. It is unusual to send a whole team to negotiate.
Legal contracts are quite long, containing detailed terms and conditions. A signed contract is an agreement between a Czech partner and counterpart but this contract is not final. A contract is more a declaration of the Czech’s intent and it is assumed that the conditions will be changed during the collaboration. Unfamiliarity with Czech laws and regulations make it crucial to have a Czech consultant to read the contract before signing it. However, it is inappropriate to bring along a legal representative to a negotiating meeting. The Czech will think they are being mistrusted.
Czechs are good listeners and they are polite. They will only interrupt a speaker when it is highly necessary. Confrontations are avoided and they give little feedback. They may appear evasive during discussions. If they do not agree with a point they may respond ironically or a bit sarcastically.
Czechs are characteristically conservative and cautious, due in part to repression during the communist regime. Czechs avoid confrontations and have an aversion to saying ‘no’. They are indirect when turning down an agreement. They will not rush into making decisions. Decisions are only made by top management. However, the younger generation has a different approach. They are becoming more decisiveness and assertive nowadays.The decision-making process carries on even after working hours and a counterpart is likely to be tested even while having a drink. Attempts will be made to find hidden agendas and sub-textual intensions. Czechs are entrepreneurs, but they are still cautious about all decisions. Czechs calculate risks and benefits accurately before making a final decision. When a decision carrying many risks is required of them, they will want guarantees and warranties.
Czechs often have a systematic and strategic way to prepare for negotiation and collecting information. In negotiations they strive to solve problems together with their counterparts. Czechs prefer arguments based on theory that can be backed up with examples. Furthermore, Czechs are not great bargainers and they will even be offended if an offer starts at a price way out of the target range of the negotiation.