Every culture has a particular way in which they conduct business. Understanding these business protocols allows you to make and excellent impression on people you are in business with and ensure you achieve the perfect level of professionalism necessary for a successful business meeting.
Croatian people are known for maintaining a high degree of professionalism during business meetings. Make sure to dress formally – for men a suit and a tie would be the best choice, whereas women, although with a wider range of options, should stay away from wearing anything too revealing.
When greeting a person make sure to include a firm handshake and greet them with the appropriate salutation for the time of day. You can say either dobro jutro (good morning) or dobar dan (good day), whilst saying welcome changes based on whom you are addressing: dobro dosao when you are welcoming a man, dobro dosla is for a woman, whilst dobro dosli is used for a group of people or an older person.
Introduce yourself by using both your first and last name. Maintaining direct eye contact when speaking is essential!
When addressing people, use gospodin for Mister, gospodja for Mrs and Gospodjica for Miss. Never use a first name to address a person without being invited to!
Business cards are exchanged without a formal ritual. It is not necessary to translate one side of your business card into Croatian, although it may leave a favourable impression.
Be prepared to conduct business in a slow and lengthy manner without the strict adherence to protocol. Before engaging in business talk, expect some small talk and exchange of pleasantries before discussing business. Jumping straight into business may seem impolite. Even though at first formal and reserved, the ambiance in which the business is conducted will change as the relationship develops.
Most Croatian business people are multi lingual, which means they will most likely speak English. In addition, German is quite widespread in continental Croatia, whilst many people on the coast may speak Italian. Nevertheless, prior to meeting make sure to inquire whether an interpreter would be required. In addition, learning a few greeting phrases in Croatian might be useful.