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Business Etiquettes in Hungary

Although Hungarians are transactional and do not require long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business, being introduced by someone they know and trust can often help.

Hungarians pride themselves on using proper etiquette in all situations and expect others to do the same. Socialising is an important part of the relationship building process. Expect many invitations to dinner or cultural events. If you have the time, reciprocate the invitations.

Hungarians prefer face-to-face meetings rather than more impersonal vehicles of communication such as letters.

Hungarians are emotive speakers who say what they think and expect you to do the same. They do not like euphemisms or vague statements. Hungarians often use stories, anecdotes, and jokes to prove their points. Hungarians are suspicious of people who are reticent and not willing to share their innermost thoughts.

Hungarians view eye contact as indicative of sincerity and believe that people who cannot look them in the eye while speaking have something to hide.

Business Meeting

Appointments are necessary and should be made 2 in advance in writing. It is often difficult to schedule meetings on Friday afternoon or from mid July to mid August. Also avoid scheduling meetings from mid December to mid January.

Punctuality for all social situations is taken extremely seriously. If you expect to be delayed, telephone immediately and offer an explanation. It is considered extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and could ruin your business relationship.

Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and for your Hungarian colleagues to determine if you are trustworthy. Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed. Do not move the conversation to business yourself. Do not remove your suit jacket without asking permission.

If you have an agenda, it may be used as a springboard to further discussion and not followed item by item.

Business Negotiation

Business is conducted slowly. Deals in Hungary cannot be finalised without a lot of eating, drinking and entertaining.

Hungarians are very detail-oriented and want to understand everything before reaching an agreement. Contracts should be clear and concise. Contracts function as statements of intent. It is expected that if circumstances change, the contract will accommodate the revised conditions.

Hungarians are skilled negotiators. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure sales tactics.


Business dress is formal and conservative. Men should wear dark business suits with a white shirt and tie. Women should wear either business suits or elegant dresses, complimented with good quality accessories. Jeans are standard casual wear. Business wear is appropriate for all formal occasions.

Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual. Have one side of your card translated into Hungarian. The Hungarian side should list your surname before your first name, Hungarian style. Include any advanced university degrees, as well as the founding date of your company on your business card.