Communication In Romania
Communication in Romania, in a business environment, is deemed very formal. Politeness is important; superficial affectation, on the other hand, is not much appreciated. They will be pleased if you speak a little bit of Romanian: Say ›Vă rog frumos‹ (›Please‹) and ›Mulțumesc‹ (›Thank you‹)!
In addition, Romanians communicate in great detail and in a rather unstructured manner. Their statements are usually long and complex and the referenced facts are often hard to grasp for someone who is not used to it, especially when everyone is communicating in a foreign language (English or French).
Despite the number of words used, in Romania, you also have to read between the lines. This is due to the fact that Romania is a high-context culture and communication is extremely indirect.
Insinuations and hints are made, which the audience, under the consideration of various contextual factors – such as facial expressions, body language, place, time and circumstances etc. – has to join together to form a coherent overall picture. Those who are not used to this communication style often wait in vain for a clarifying summary. Foreigners lacking this ›vision‹ can easily experience difficulties in Romanian business life.
Criticism And Conflicts
The Romanian soul is always trying to maintain harmony. The individual and the good relationship is far more important to Romanians than business. Thus, the threshold for criticising others is extremely high. Romanians always communicate with the personal relationship in mind; negative aspects or criticism are dressed up in a friendly and positive manner. The guiding principle is: Tough with business, gentle with people!
Likewise, Romanians try to avoid discussions once a conflict has arisen. Instead of having a highly unpleasant debate, they strongly believe that, in the end, everything will be fine. You should, thus, be aware that Romanians often sense a lot of pressure during discussions as they always try to avoid conflicts.
Don’t necessarily regard this Romanian mindset of avoiding conflicts as a weakness but as a pure people- and relationship-oriented behaviour.
Romanians think it is more important to treat people gently than to solve a problem through arguments. In Romania, it is rather rare that a dispute is not taken personally.
In circumstances where criticism has to be expressed or conflicts addressed this is done discreetly and in private. Public disputes are regarded as a lack of a good upbringing. A manager who loudly criticises an employee in front of others loses the respect of his team.
Should a disagreement turn into a heated debate, which can happen, the involved parties will withdraw from the rest of the group. It would be unfair to others to witness the debate as it is such an unpleasant situation.
Agreement And Rejection
This also explains why Romanians tend to kindly agree with you, as the guest from abroad. Don’t misinterpret this as submissiveness! Due to the indirect Romanian communication style, it is deemed extremely rude to simply say ›No‹. Rejection is expressed much more softly, for example, with phrases like ›I see, what I can do‹.
The body language often reveals whether ›Yes‹ or ›No‹ is meant. Be aware to pay attention not just to the wording of a statement, but to try and detect possible negative points from the context.
Non-verbal communication plays an important role in Romania. Feelings are not only expressed with hands, but with the entire body. Gesticulations and facial expressions are pronounced and support verbal statements.
Be aware: A serious facial expression and a relative motionlessness don’t necessarily seem professional to Romanians, but instead could look as if you are uninvolved in the matter or are not interested in the topic.
In Romania, small talk has an important social function. Romanian business people exchange a lot of information via this informal communication channel.
Small talk is important because it is a sign of good manners and shows a willingness to get involved with the counterpart. Romanians are very observant and interested in anything that has to do with culture and general knowledge.
Good topics for small talk are the journey, the hotel, regional specialities, tourist attractions or sport. Pay compliments and praise the country and its people.
Don’t think of small talk as a waste of time, but instead as a good opportunity to show your own personality away from facts and figures. In Romania, very few business deals materialise without a good personal relationship.