A Guide to Doing Business in Israel
Every business initiative or cooperation that brings together individuals from different backgrounds must first be based on social and cultural understanding of the engaged parties. This sets the groundwork for interpersonal communication that will enable you to close more deals and achieve mutual success. It is important to understand the social and organizational fabric of our small country, and to pay attention to behavior codes and differences that can make or break a deal in one fell swoop. This includes communication style as well as dress code and work pace.
When it comes to business communication style, both face-to-face and correspondence, the Israeli notion of formality differs from customary attitudes in other western countries. Interaction is much more casual and warm, and may even seem boisterous and perhaps aggressive at times. Understanding these cultural features facilitates productive negotiations positive results. Fashion style is similar to communication style.
The climate in Israel is for the most part warm or hot, and dress is summer oriented, even in the fall months and the very short winter. Thus Israeli’s dress casually both in and out of work. While a certain formal dress code is maintained among professionals and in business meetings, three-piece suits for example are all but unseen. Ties are not a frequent fashion item and tailored vests and jackets are not part of the routine dress code.
A Fast-Paced Business Environment
When doing business Israelis tend to have a straightforward attitude and a rapid work pace. As a results-oriented culture, an expeditious and “get it done” attitude is characteristic when the details need to be finalized. The term “urgent” takes on a more vigorous meaning in Israel compared to other places in the world, because the emphasis is on always being at the top, in first place.
Business people in Israel recognize that taking one’s time means that someone else will reap the fruits. This may leave little room for hesitation or shyness, so that to achieve your goal you may need some “chutzpah” and elbowing.
Read about Business Etiquette tips and tricks
As part of the warm and open Israeli character and culture, business interaction often expands to interaction that is more personal. In general, personal closeness can advance professional relations. Those who are not prepared for or used to this type of communication in their business dealings may experience this as intrusion into the private sphere.
Small talk is routine, so that in doing business with Israelis don’t be surprised if the conversation also touches on areas outside the business world. Israelis are usually forthright and direct, and knowing this in advance can help you derive the maximum from your business interactions in Israel and with Israelis.
Israel – Strong Companies and a Vibrant Innovative Business Culture
Many of Israel’s strongest and most well-known companies are technological and financial corporations. Among the successful companies at the top of the list are: Teva, Amdocs, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Elbit, Intel, Discount Bank, Harel Insurance, Checkpoint, and many other companies with very high market shares.
In Israel, successful business collaboration is based on an understanding of Israeli culture and character in general, and the business sphere in particular. We wish you a profitable and pleasant business experience.