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Business customs in Poland - liquor gift, courtesy toward women


ukmate 1 | 2
20 Apr 2014  #1
I'm having some business appointments coming in Poland and I'm wondering if it's ok to bring some scotch as a gift for my potential business partner?

My another doubt is about kissing the woman's hand... A friend of mine told me it's customary in Poland...seems pretty odd though...What are your general views on that subject? Shall I hold the door for my female friend or will it be taken as an offence? I don't want to come as a jerk...
enkidu 7 | 623
21 Apr 2014  #2
Scotch is a good idea. But not at the first meeting.
Don't kiss women's hands under any circumstances.
Holding a door still ok.
cjj_afloat
21 Apr 2014  #3
Hand kissing ... seems to have died out in the younger generations and I would avoid it if I were you. On the other hand, make sure you always stand back to let the lady go first ... and hold the door open.

There are further subdivisions of pecking order, of course. Not sure if men do it among themselves but i've had a few awkward moments at work when junior females have plastered themselves against the sides of the elevator expecting me to sail out past them from the very back. Unpleasant for me ... but trying to shoo them out in front of me only led to an impasse they had no intention of resolving.
OP ukmate 1 | 2
21 Apr 2014  #4
Hand kissing ... seems to have died out in the younger generations and I would avoid it if I were you.

- it was odd to me too when i've heard about it so I won't try it ;)
I'm still wondering if women in Poland are much different in comparison to UK. I suppose they're not.
thanks for advise
johnb121 4 | 184
21 Apr 2014  #5
Joanna Lumley tells a little story of her days at finishing school when she was taught to sit in the car as the driver (male, of course) parks, gets out and walks round to open her door - "sit there like a cripple!". My experience, having worked alongside, under and above women for more than 30 years is that it's polite to open and hold the door, but if you rush ahead to grab the door and make a show of "politeness" the woman will think you are a ******!

Although men, women, everyone worth knowing will appreciate politeness, no-one likes to be treated like they're incapable of opening their own doors.
jon357 63 | 14,341
21 Apr 2014  #6
I'm wondering if it's ok to bring some scotch as a gift for my potential business partner?

No. Unless you know them. Poland does have high levels of spirit consumption however it is also more puritanical than you might have heard about alcohol. In any case, your business contact might be a sober alcoholic going to AA meetings and who smashes the place up after one sniff of a wine gum.

If you want to bring alcohol, try a couple of bottles of good (very good) English wine.

My another doubt is about kissing the woman's hand... A friend of mine told me it's customary in Poland...s

Don't do it - it's old fashioned and would look strange. It's mostly done ironically nowadays or by the over 85s.

shall I hold the door for my female friend or will it be taken as an offence?

No problem holding doors open or not holding them open - Poland is just the same as the UK in that respect.

Wait until you come and play it by ear.
krecik89 3 | 60
21 Apr 2014  #7
No problem holding doors open or not holding them open - Poland is just the same as the UK in that respect.

Really disagree on this one. It would be a bit odd for a man to not hold open a door or offer to do so for a woman in a business context in most reasonable circumstances in Poland. A woman may of course shoo a man through first then it's OK to accept. It is NOT the same as in England where it really doesn't matter either way.
jon357 63 | 14,341
21 Apr 2014  #8
It depends how you do it. Making a show of it would be inappropriate unless you know the woman would expect that. Just going through first and letting go of the door would be equally inappropriate.
The Willow
10 Jun 2014  #9
If this is a business meeting:

1. Don't bring any alcohol (especially if you don't know the people well, or never met them before).
2. I work for a rather big polish company and would find it quite disturbing if someone would rush into kissing hands (or any other parts of my body XD)

Kissing a cheek is acceptable between people who know each other well and cooperate for a long time (and simply like each other). Some old gentlemen may go against the rules and kiss hands anyway - their age is an excuse.

Please consider the fact that some companies have strict 'no gifts' rules - it is better to check it first, you don't want to embarrass anyone in front of their bosses.


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