Business Etiquette in Armenia
Doing business with Armenians
When traveling to Armenia on business, you will find the official language spoken is Armenian, known as Hayeren. It may be helpful to be aware that Armenians largely identify as Armenian Christians. Certain formalities in business transactions are typically followed.
Business dress, similar to that in the U.S., is conservative. For men, acceptable dress is a dark suit and tie. For women, choose a high-quality business suit with knee-length skirt in darker colors. Armenia women place high value on being well dressed. Casual attire is not normally acceptable for business meetings.
It is customary that an Armenian host introduce you first, rather than you introducing yourself. In Armenian, a name is given formally in three parts: title, surname, and given name, in that order. The word for Mr. is Baron, for Mrs. is Deegeen and for Miss, Oryort. So if the surname given is Khanjian, and he is male, then say Baron Khanjian.
At the center of the meeting is the establishment of personal relationships. In meeting with Armenians, schedule appointments and be punctual, even though your host may be late. Interruptions are acceptable so take no offense. Be engaging and use small talk while avoiding personal matters and religion–cuisine, sports, weather and history are good topics. Generally speaking, Armenians are friendly and communicative and the protocol is that you let an Armenian start and end conversations. Bargaining is acceptable but not always desirable in negotiations. Armenians are sensitive to a “no” so temper your directness. Negotiation decisions are not usually immediate. If you have strong emotions during the meeting, restrain from showing them.
When giving a gift, and it is expected, a wrapped one is preferable and office-type gifts such as pen gift sets or paper weights are your best choices. If you are given a gift, do not open it in public.
When dining with Armenians, you can expect a number of toasts. Accept an invitation for a day trip to someone’s house, as refusing to do so may cause personal offense. Armenians may give you a lingering handshake and may stand closer than you find comfortable as an American.