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Expanding your Company's Horizons

Doing Business in Russia2013.08.05

    Are you aware that there are over 100 languages spoken in Russia? You may or may not know this, but your Russian business counterparts certainly will be—because they are proud of their nation and its rich history and culture. Remember this when you’re about to or doing business with Russians, as showing interest in their fascinating country will pay off. Business is not a quick affair in Russia. The people you work with there will want to know that you’re in it for the long haul. Success in your interactions there will revolve around showing both respect for and interest in the Russian way of doing things.


    Point to Remember:


    • You must prove that you possess great patience to do business successfully in Russia. This will be tested at different points along your business dealings. Be ready for this and just remember that it’s part of the process of getting the deal done.
    • Russian culture places a lot of value and importance on the group over the individual. As a result, connections are very important in doing business in Russia.
    • Russians are accustomed to having personal relationships on top of a business one with their colleagues. They may not trust you if you appear only interested in focusing on business and “talking shop.”


    Business Meetings:


    • While you should arrive on time for a meeting, you may be kept waiting and should be prepared for this.
    • A first meeting is especially designed to allow you to introduce your business and yourself to your Russian counterparts. This is how they will decide if they want to proceed in business dealings with you. As a result, small talk may last quite a while at the beginning of a meeting.
    • Don’t be surprised if any of your Russian colleagues gets angry and yells, or even leaves the room in irritation during your meeting. This kind of display is not unusual and should not be a major cause for concern.
    • Russians want to know that your ideas and information are backed up. Present them with the facts and the history of your business and product, and bring in experts to give technical accounts when necessary.
    • A number of unrelated discussions may pop up during your meeting. This is fairly typical in Russian business.
    • At the end of a meeting you, you will likely be asked to sign a summary of what went on during the meeting.
    • Russians don’t like to back down in business. Prepare for some tough negotiating and bargaining.


    Body Language:


    • Russians exchange very firm handshakes. Don’t shake hands in a doorway as this is seen as a sign of a coming disagreement.
    • Russians tend to remain in each other’s personal space while speaking.


    More to Keep in Mind:


    • Business can be very bureaucratic in Russia. Your dealings will likely progress quite slowly as a result.
    • If you rush or try to pressure your Russian counterparts, you will likely be met with slowed-down negotiations.
    • Translate any key materials into Russian to show your respect for your colleagues’ native language.
    • Russians really enjoy talking about their country’s history and culture. Engage your Russian counterparts when the time is right by asking sincere questions about their nation. It will pay off in building your relationship with them.




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