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Doing Business in Europe

TASK 1: Below are three texts about customs and habits for doing business in different European countries. Read through the texts and replace the words in brackets.


interfere    handshake    punctuality     accompanied    unannounced   acceptable



When you meet someone from France you should always shake hands and when you say goodbye it is also normal to shake hands. Your grip should be firm but not too firm and the (1)……………should be brief and be (2)…………. by eye contact.

It is acceptable in France to conduct business during a meal, with lunch the most traditional time. However, as France is well known for its fine cuisine it is seen as bad taste to drink spirits or smoke cigars during cigars as it is believed to (3)………….. with the taste of the meal.

Other things to be aware of is that (4)………….. is quite flexible in France even half an hour late is seen as normal. French people respect privacy and it is not (5)…………….. to drop in (6)……………….

TASK 2: In this exercise you have to put the verbs in italics into the correct form.


When you meet someone from Germany shake hands at the beginning and the end of the meeting. The handshake can (7) accompany by a nod or slight bow and if someone nods or bows to you, you should respond with the same. Eye contact (8) expect when (9) shake hands. Even people who (10) work together for a long time, shake hands when they meet.

Punctuality is very important in Germany. Arriving late is seen as (11) be very impolite even if it is only a few minutes.

Other things to be aware of is that Germans like to have a larger personal space around them than North Americans and Anglo Saxons, in German restaurants it is not unusual (12) share a table with strangers and finally humour is not appreciated in a business context.  


(13) When / During meeting Italians handshakes are expected, with two hands often used. (14)In / On formal meetings it is expected to swap business cards but not in informal meetings. (15)If / whether you visit someone’s home you should bring a gift of chocolates flowers or wine. The wine should be vintage and if you are bringing flowers make sure there is an even number.

When visiting Italian executives it is not uncommon for them to be late. (16)Similarly / at the same time if you are waiting for decisions to be made or bureaucratic problems to be ironed out expect to have to wait.


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