Understanding Russian business culture
Churchill once described Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. This is still true for any business looking to set up shop in the country. With political changes, government reforms, vast natural resources and huge workforce, we have seen Russia true potential as an economy power house.
However to work well in Russia, you will have to learn some of it nuances and to stay in the Russians’ good graces. For instance, we all know the importance of punctuality at business meetings, but do not be alarmed if your Russian counterparts turn up a few hours late. Apparently the punctuality is directly proportional to their interest in your business. Initial meetings are usually approached as formality. Your credibility will be in the spot light so do well to prepare before hand. Make sure your name cards contain your title and qualifications. The best strategy here is really to maintain warmth and approachability yet firm and dignified.
Presenting to Russian businessmen are straightforward. They are not easily wowed by flashy powerpoints so save your time and focus on the specifics. The most critical element is demonstrating your knowledge, skills and professionalism. And do expect them to be tested at these meetings.
Language should not be an issue although it is always good to check ahead and when in doubt, to bring an interpreter.
Negotiations are filled with a fair amount of theatrics and really put all your faculties to the test. Caving too early is a sign of weakness so stand your ground. Never give in without getting some compromise from their end. Whatever happens, do not be alarmed by walkouts, threats and tempers flaring. These are just part of the experience.
If you are getting nervous now, it is time to do some extensive homework. Read this article for the rest of the tips.