Hungarians put a great emphasis on socializing, including eating, drinking, and entertainment. So, when you are out and about and being social, impress those around you with your knowledge of Hungarian etiquette. Below are some etiquette tips to help you out on your trip to Hungary.
1. Dress Attire
DO wear formal and conservative attire for business occasions. For men, a dark suit with a white shirt and tie is fine. For women, a suit or dress is appropriate, along with nice accessories.
DO wear jeans for casual outings. Shorts are not common.
2. Table Manners
DON'T begin eating until after the host starts.
DON'T put your elbows on the table, but don't put your hands in your lap.
DO try everything on your plate.
DO cross your knife and fork on your plate if you are still eating.
DO put your fork and knife along the right side of the plate when full.
DO give the first toast if you are the guest of honor. You should salute the health of everyone there.
DON'T clink your glass when drinking beer.
DON'T discuss business during a meal.
DO tip 10% for satisfactory service at a restaurant, or round up to the nearest 100 HUF. For great service, tip 15%-20%.
4. Gift giving and Accepting Gifts
DO open a gift immediately upon receipt.
DO give flowers in odd numbers but not 13. That's unlucky.
DON'T give lilies, chrysanthemums, or red roses.
DO shake hands upon meeting someone. Men should wait for a woman to offer a handshake first.
DO kiss close friends on both cheeks, starting with the left.
6. Visitors Etiquette
DON'T be more than five minutes late.
DON'T ask for a tour of the house.
DO expect to be asked to take your shoes off.
DO bring chocolate or flowers for your hosts.
DON'T bring wine. Hungarians are often proud of their own wine.
7. Business Meeting
DO make an appointment two weeks in advance and have it put in writing.
DON'T try to schedule meetings on Friday afternoons in the summer or from mid-December to mid-January.
DON'T be late. If you think you're going to be late, call to explain.
DON'T cancel a meeting at the last minute.
DON'T be the one to move the conversation to business. Before getting down to business there is usually a bit of small talk. Let your Hungarian business associates be the ones to get down to business.
DON'T remove your suit jacket without asking first.
DO expect lots of eating, drinking, and socializing during negotiations.
DO have one side of your business card translated into Hungarian and put your last name before your first. Also, include the founding date of your company and any advanced academic degrees you may have.
8. Socializing and Conversation
DO be open and honest when conversing. Expect to be asked personal questions but don't be offended. It's just a way of getting to know each other.
DON'T discuss politics or religion.
DO discuss sports, music, food, and wine.
Since socializing is such an important part of Hungarian culture, proper etiquette is important. You'll blend in better and make a far better impression if you can follow their etiquette. Have a wonderful trip to Hungary!