networking etiquette
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Updated 3 months ago

Effective networking is when you know where, when, and how to address potentially useful contacts, and how to avoid committing common mistakes. As an expat in Budapest, it is best to learn about the local networking etiquette to get the most of networking opportunities.

Hungarian society is quite relaxed if you look at their traditions and social etiquette. General values, like being polite to the elderly, treating women with respect and behaving well in front of your boss, apply here as well. Common norms are not too strict, but there are some which you should keep in your mind if you don’t want to look stupid or ignorant.

Greetings in Budapest

When greeting people for the first time, just introduce yourself and shake hands. If you have a business card, offer them one as well. If you speak Hungarian, you have to be careful, as, in the Hungarian language, there are two different addressing types. There is a formal one, which you might use to unknown people (anyone you are meeting for the first time), to anyone older than you or a superior at your work. If you get to know someone or if someone suggests you to use the other, you can swap to the informal addressing. With young people or with your colleagues, you will use the informal one, and you can often use it at modern workplaces, like start-ups.

The dress code in Budapest

It is important how you dress, as first impressions can be crucial. If you are going to a formal meeting or event, dress up well and wear elegant clothes. Most companies are still conservative about it, so for women suits or nice dresses and for men dark suits with white shirts and ties are recommended.

How to behave at networking events in Budapest

After introducing yourself, try to listen and be interested in what the other person is saying, so you can build trust. Hungarian people usually just say what they think; they don’t use symbolic phrases, so try to be as simple and honest as possible, even if you have a different opinion.

It’s common to tell stories and anecdotes to lighten up the atmosphere, so share some jokes or funny stories if you can.

Always try to make eye contact as well when you talk to someone as if you don’t, it looks like you have something to hide.

Controversial topics in Budapest

During networking events, you can talk about many topics, not just about your work, but there are some which you might want to avoid. In Hungary, questions about politics or someone’s political preference someone’s salary, or other personal questions like religious views, or sexual orientation, are not recommended. It’s polite to ask about someone’s family if you know the person is married and has and children, but not if the person is single.

Drinking alcohol

During events in Budapest, try to enjoy yourself. You can have a glass of wine or beer; no one will judge you. What’s more, people will look at you if you don’t drink, as drinking is so much part of the culture. However, do it moderately, especially if you don’t want to hear about the things you did or said as drunk for a year in the office.

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