Business in Greece is...not exactly what your Master's or PhD degrees taught you all about
OK ! The business dress is formal with suit and tie for men and a rather conservative suit or dress for women, the usual handshakes and business cards being exchanged and time kept quite strict for the high rank executives, while slightly loose for the rest.
When you are told that you will be in a meeting with the board of directors, in lots of cases you will be in a meeting with the father and establisher of the business, the son, the daughter, the cousins and may be one or two managers of the company.
Forget about the easy going American way of “Hi George, Hi Phyllis, good to see you” and stick to the formal Mr/Mrs and the last names.
Appointments are normally made from two weeks in advance to the day before the meeting and don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you are a bit late, cause due to cultural habits or traffic they are all kind of use to it.
When it comes to bargaining, prepare yourself, cause this is going to be hard and always leave some space in your offer to allow you to “step down” as it will not be swallowed nicely if you don’t .
Take under consideration that a lot of times business in Greece is conducted slowly, so, always leave space in your agreements with third parties involved, about deadlines and options with them and don’t be discouraged if by the first meeting the deal is not “lock, stock and barrel” cause most probably it will take a second and a third meeting to close the deal.
On the other hand, despite contracts, agreements, amendments and any other legal document, the majority of the Greeks still feel very obliged to their word of honor when shaking hands at the acceptance of a deal, to honorably keep their part of the agreement despite to what difficulties or misfortunes might arise.
The country is in financial turmoil but, the opportunities are there in a number of sectors such as Travel, Digital Technology and lots of others and there are a good number of well educated, experienced and hard working people to efficiently and profitably run a project.
Aaa !!! And be careful when you want to emphasize something with your hand involving number 5, always have your palm facing you, cause otherwise it is a very offensive gesture when it is facing towards the other person.