Meeting & Greeting
. Greetings consist of a firm handshake, direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day.
. Handshakes are used when meeting and departing.
. Address people with their titles (try and find out if people have one beforehand) - if not then use Mr "Gospodin" / Mrs "Gospozha" followed by the surname.
. Business cards are exchanged on initial meetings.
. There is little protocol to follow.
. If your company/firm has been established a long time (25-50 years) include the founding date on your business card.
. Add any academic qualifications you may have too.
. Translating cards into Bulgarian may not always be a necessity but it would certainly impress recipients.
Relationship building is important in Bulgaria. Try to spend time getting to know people before getting down to serious business.
. Initial meetings should be used as an introduction. The next meetings can then be used for more business focused discussions.
. If you are aware that your counterparts in Bulgaria, hire an interpreter and fully brief them on your needs.
. Eye contact is important is relaying trust and sincerity.
. Any presentations should be factual and backed with statistics. If possible try to present information visually.
. Bulgarians do not appreciate too much "talk" so avoid over zealous statements.
. Once meetings have started to get into more serious matters they will start to proceed at a much slower pace as details are digested, scrutinized and discussed.
. Bulgarians are not deadline oriented. They prefer to ensure they have comprehensively covered a topic before bringing proceedings to a close.
. Be patient and do not rush meetings - successful ventures in Bulgaria will never happen overnight.
. Meetings often last much longer than anticipated. Do not rush the process.
. It is important to retain a sense of formality and professionalism. Any slip into casual behaviour may not be appreciated.
. Bulgarians have a tendency to talk in a roundabout way when concerned about not saying anything that could be used against them later. If you are asking questions and not getting direct answers try asking the question in different ways.