KEY: Formal & Conservative
- Punctuality is extremely important in the Austrian culture. Following schedules and agendas is highly encouraged or rather mandatory.
When meeting with an Austrian, it should be kept in mind that even a few minutes delay can offend. If for some reason it happens that you are running late, make sure to call ahead and provide a reasonable explanation.
- Avoid physical contact except short, firm handshakes accompanied by eye contact.
- Austrians assign a high level of importance to academic titles so make sure you don't leave them out when addressing someone. It is custom to use the individual's academic title followed by their surname (e.g. Doctor Polster).
- The conventional work environment is serious, focused and goal-oriented.
- Communication: formal, avoid joking and especially political and historical discussions.
It is very important to distinguish Austria from Germany and it would generally be best to stay away from making comparisons between the two.
- DRESS CODE: Conservative! Loud clothes should by all means be avoided. Good outfit choices for women include fashionable business suits and strictly conservative dresses while for men the best choice is a dark suit with a white shirt and a tie.
Make sure you avoid spraying on a large amount of perfume; Austrians are highly disturbed by this and see it as quite impolite.
- As a man, you should be careful when deciding whether to assist a lady (e.g. holding the door, helping with the coat etc.). Although a large portion respects 'gentleman' behavior, there are also some left-wing, feminist women which consider such actions to be patronizing.
- ''Mahlzeit'' and ''Guten Appetit'' are commonly said before the start of a meal in Austria. However, at formal, business dinners it may be desirable not to say it or at least wait for someone else to do so.
- Make appointments in advance. (2-3 weeks)
- Do NOT cancel meetings last minute – such an action can have serious consequences.
- Business meetings should always be formal.
- Make sure to thoroughly prepare for meetings as Austrians are generally very detail oriented in business and expect you to be able to answer all the questions which may come up.
- Just as punctuality, following agendas is remarkably meaningful.
- Do not sit until invited to do so.
- In business, Austrians put focus on long-term relationships rather than making quick sales and that is the way you should set your approach.
- There is no explicit convention for the exchange of business cards. One thing you might want to do is have one side of your card be with information in German, it will be respected from the side of the locals.