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Business etiquette, language & culture

Language

Romanian (limba română), the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe, is the official language of Romania. The name Romania comes from the Latin word 'Romanus' (meaning citizen of Rome), dating from 106 A.D. when the Roman Empire took control of the country (then known as Dacia). The language retains a significant number of features of old Latin and also contains words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, as well as from French, German, Greek and Turkish.

English is now the country’s second language, particularly with the younger generation and in the larger towns and cities, although French and German can also be useful. There are a number of German-speakers in southern Transylvania and in Banat (Western Romania). Hungarian is also widely spoken in some parts of Eastern Transylvania and in some of the larger cities.

 

Hierarchy

Romania is a hierarchical society, age and position are respected, and titles are very important and denote respect. Romanians are formal and reserved, and although always polite, they seldom move to a first-name basis with people outside their extended family or very close friends until they get to know them over time.

 

Titles

People are addressed by their professional or academic title together with their name, or "domnul" (Mr) or "doamna" (Mrs or Ms), followed by their family name. Friends may address each other using this title plus the first name, whereas only close friends and family members use the first name without the title.

 

Greetings

Initial greetings are formal and reserved. A firm handshake with good eye contact is normal. However, one should only shake hands with a woman if she initiates the gesture. Some older Romanians may kiss a woman's hand when meeting them (although foreign men are not expected to do so). Close friends may kiss each other when they meet, kissing twice, once on each cheek starting with the left. However, your Romanian friends will decide when your relationship has reached this level of intimacy. In the meantime, always use a person's title plus their surname until invited to do otherwise.

 

Business etiquette

Romanian business culture is formal and hierarchical, and business is still governed by a great deal of bureaucracy. Romanians place great importance on courtesy and respect for older or more senior people, and meetings tend to be quite formal, often dominated by the senior decision maker, and decisions rarely questioned or challenged by those of lower rank. There is little small talk or informal discussion. One should not ask for personal information as Romanians value privacy.

 

Meetings

In Romania, punctuality is considered a strength when doing business and it is important to arrive at the appointed time, or even a little earlier. Punctuality is common in many new companies and those operating in the international arena. However, when dealing with state-run companies, you may be kept waiting.

There is often a strict seating protocol, so wait to be told where to sit. Do not remove your suit jacket without permission until the most senior-ranking Romanian does. Then expect to spend time getting to know people before discussing business. Although this a process which cannot be rushed, once a relationship has been developed over time, it will be with you personally, not with the company you represent, so if you leave the company, your replacement will need to build their own relationship. Therefore, introduce your replacement if you are able.

Communication styles are direct and frank, but also sensitive and courteous, with care being taken not to offend. Straightforwardness is valued in Romania. You will likely require an interpreter when dealing with traditional firms, although an increasingly large number of English speakers work in newer organisations, particularly those with international business. The DIT team at the British Embassy in Bucharest can provide a list of suitable translators (See the Resources section in this guide).

 

Presentations

Presentations should be factual and easy to understand, including facts and figures to back up your conclusions. Avoid making exaggerated claims – Romanians prefer to conduct business with people who are honest and do not brag about their accomplishments or financial achievements. Always avoid confrontational behaviour and high-pressure sales tactics. As above, make use of an official interpreter if appropriate, and do not assume all attendees will necessarily have a good command of English.

 

Public holidays


2016

1 January

Friday

New Year's Day

2 January

Saturday

New Year's Holiday

24 January

Sunday

Union of the Romanian Principalities

1 May

Sunday

Orthodox Easter Sunday

1 May

Sunday

Labour Day

2 May

Monday

Orthodox Easter Monday

19 June

Sunday

Orthodox Pentecost

20 June

Monday

Orthodox Whit Monday

15 August

Monday

Assumption Day

30 November

Wednesday

Feast of Saint Andrew

1 December

Thursday

National Day

25 December

Sunday

Christmas Day

26 December

Monday

2nd Day of Christmas


2017

1 January

Sunday

New Year's Day

2 January

Monday

New Year's Holiday

24 January

Tuesday

Union of the Romanian Principalities

16 April

Sunday

Orthodox Easter Sunday

17 April

Monday

Orthodox Easter Monday

1 May

Monday

Labour Day

4 June

Sunday

Orthodox Pentecost

5 June

Monday

Orthodox Whit Monday

15 August

Tuesday

Assumption Day

30 November

Thursday

Feast of Saint Andrew

1 December

Friday

National Day

25 December

Monday

Christmas Day

26 December

Tuesday

2nd Day of Christmas


 

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