Cultural Differences – Lithuania

In daily dealings with Lithuanian business partners, you will frequently notice their strong emotional ties to both Poland and Russia. In addition, the Catholic Church is important in Lithuanian life; this not only increases the distance to their Baltic neighbors, but also defines their fundamental values.

For successful business negotiations in Lithuania, the basic prerequisite is the establishment of a strong personal relationship. Close contact with business partners is often so important here that contracts count for far less than a personal handshake. Foreign managers in Lithuania have repeatedly reported that Lithuanian business partners like to renegotiate things that have already been decided. A finalized contract will not stop them from reconsidering everything.

Contrary to their quiet neighbors in Estonia and Latvia, Lithuanians enjoy heated discussions. That Lithuanians take great pleasure in lively discussions is quickly obvious, and the international partner often comes under time pressure again. Do not allow yourself to be drawn in and always point out the advantages for both sides. Your Lithuanian business partners want to be sure that they are really making the best deal.

However, after a day of tough negotiating, Lithuanians will once again give priority to building a good personal relationship and will invite their business partners from abroad to eat and celebrate together. Little wonder that the Lithuanians, with their thoroughly open and cheerful way of life, like to be called the “Italians of the Baltic States”.

So, don’t underestimate how important it is to nurture close relationships with Lithuanian business partners; this will also include many after-work activities. Remember to always bring a few gifts from your home country. Small gifts will help to strengthen your friendship.

Respectful communication

In meetings or simple conversations with Lithuanians, the style of communication is thoughtful and formal. Even if critical point has to be dealt with, it is important to maintain your composure and to treat your interlocutor with respect despite your differences of opinion.

Furthermore, an individual’s status is important; you will communicate mainly with partners who are on the same hierarchical level. This means that even in a meeting, only those authorized to do so will speak, while lower-ranking employees will simply be present. It is therefore helpful not only to coordinate an agenda in advance for a scheduled meeting, but also to find out as much as possible about the participants and their respective ranks in order to achieve the right balance.

Katrin Koll Prakoonwit

+49 (0)711 722 468 44
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