Austria is a diverse country with many different cultures, languages, and dialects. This can make it difficult to communicate across cultures without understanding the barriers that exist.
It is extremely important for businesses to be aware of cross-cultural communication barriers in Austria as it helps you anticipate how people react and thus makes it easier to build relationships with them.
Austria is a European country that was once part of the Holy Roman Empire. The capital city is Vienna, and it has a population of just over 8 million people. Austria has a rich history that dates back to ancient times, and many of its cultural traditions are still practiced today.
The culture of Austria is predominantly German. In addition, most of the population is Catholic, which means that many people have similar religious backgrounds.
Type of barriers to communication in Austria
Some of the barriers to communication in Austria include:
- Language barrier: The majority of Austrians speak German, with some also speaking English or French.
- Social barrier: Austrians are known for being formal when speaking with others and do not engage in small talk often. This can make it difficult for people who are used to engaging in more casual conversations when meeting someone new.
Austria's culture-based communication style
The following are some of the culture-based communication barriers you may encounter when working with Austrian clients:
- Austrians tend to think in terms of absolute numbers rather than relative numbers. This means that they will often use words like "all" and "every" when discussing quantities. For example, if you ask an Austrian customer how many customers came into their store last week, they might say "all," instead of saying something like "10," or "20."
- Austrians tend to be very direct and blunt in their communication. They do not like to beat around the bush, and they will cut right to the chase when communicating with each other.
- In Austria, it is common for people to use formal titles when addressing one another as "Herr" (Mr.) or "Frau" (Mrs.), "Doktor" (Doctor) or "Professor" rather than first names. This can make it difficult for someone from another culture that does not use formal titles to engage with individuals in Austria.
- It is not considered polite to discuss politics or religion in Austria.
- Austrians tend to be formal and do not engage in small talk. Many Austrians feel that small talk is unnecessary and prefer to get into the main topic of conversation as quickly as possible.
- The country's style of communication is pragmatic, which means that they're more focused on facts than emotion. This makes them great at getting down to business, but it also means they may not be as good at showing appreciation or sympathy.
- Austrian business culture is characterized by a focus on respect, an appreciation of authority, a sense of duty and loyalty, and a desire for hierarchy and order.
Non-verbal communication in Austria
- Austrians do not like to maintain eye contact for a long time, so it is best to keep eye contact brief when speaking with them.
- Personal space is also important in Austria, and it's considered rude to stand too close to someone who is not a family member or close friend.
- Austrian gestures tend toward small movements and subtlety; this can be confusing if you're used to larger or more animated gestures.
Business communication etiquette in Austria
- Don't be late.
- Make sure that your attire is appropriate for the occasion and setting you're in.
- Don't use first names until you know someone well.
- Address people by their title and last name (Doctor, Professor, etc.).
- You should always be polite and use formal language when speaking with Austrians.
- When doing business with an Austrian company or individual, be sure to greet them with a handshake when you arrive at their office or home.