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Business Etiquettes in Azerbaijan

Although direct communication is seen as a postive in Azerbaijan, one also has to be careful to employ such directness. Information should always be presented in a way that is diplomatic and sensitive so as not to cause loss of face.

The level of directness you can use is dictated by who you are speaking with. If it is a new, formal or important relationship diplomacy s critical. If the relationship is well developed and a level of openness has been established a little more honesty is fine.

Business Meetings

To arrange a meeting in Azerbaijan, an introductory letter is needed outlining your company, history and the purpose of your visit. It is always a good idea to have such correspondence translated in Azeri to ensure they understand and it also makes you stand out.

There is a certain amount of protocol one has to follow in meetings as Azeris are quite sensitive to status, title, who sits down first, enters the room first, etc. It is best to follow the lead. Politeness is important and is all part of the relationship building process.

Discussions will often start slowly over tea and the topics of discussion may be completely irrelevant. However, this is the make or break part of your relationship – if you can not strike up a rapport the chances of doing business together are slim.

Always maintain eye contact while speaking since Azeris take this as a sign of sincerity. If someone does not look them in the eye while speaking, they think the person has something to hide.

Decisions are reached slowly. Never appear impatient or attempt to rush an Azeri to make a decision.

Do expect a great deal of bargaining and haggling – Azeris are are tough negotiators.

Business Cards

There is no formal ritual surrounding exchange of cards. It is a good idea to take plenty with you as it still forms the basic means of keeping contact details as opposed to electronic means. Give and receive cards with your right hand.




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