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Business Etiquettes in Albania


Most government officials speak English or some other European language (French, Italian, German and Greek) to a certain level. However, this may not always be true with private enterprises. In any case, interpreters are widely used for any types of meetings, sometimes the interpreter being the assistant or the secretary of the Albanian entrepreneur/businessman. Contracts can be made verbally and/or in written form. Albanians do not like much paperwork and try to keep things simple. Also, private businesses have very few layers of bureaucracy and the same person may serve as a manager, point of contact, secretary, accountant, as well as driver for a given company. There are many able Albanian translators and interpreters that may be hired on hourly or daily rates.

Meeting & Greeting

Albanians shake hands when meeting strangers and they kiss or hug the men and women they consider close acquaintances or good friends. Sometimes these circles will include the potential foreign business partners they have just met. Business cards are not mandatory and there is no custom of exchanging business cards at either the beginning or the end of a meeting. Assistants, secretaries and/or interpreters may not be introduced. Sometimes, especially when meeting high officials outside their own offices, bodyguards may accompany these officials up to the door when the meeting will take place and may often wait right outside this door.

Business Meetings

Business meetings may often take place in unconventional places, such as café houses, residence dwellings, as well as during taxi rides. Contacts are frequently made verbally and payments for goods and services are conducted in cash. Albanians do not seem bound by time, lateness for important events, including business meetings and lunch/dinner parties are not unusual. Most young Albanians (younger than 35 years old) speak fluent English and often other languages, mainly Italian.

Business Negotiations

When negotiating your business with your potential Albanian partner, keep in mind that no offer from them is ever final until you have accepted it. If you are going to negotiate some items, such as prices, places of delivery, etc, this needs to be done before the end of the meeting, unless it is clear that these items will be discussed at a follow-up meeting. Albanians are generally reasonable and willing to negotiate and accommodate their business partners.

Gift-Giving Etiquette

Gifts are very important for Albanians and mandatory for special guests. You are expected to give a gift in return if you have been given something. Money is never a good gift as it presumes you want a bribe or something illegal from the receiving party. Flowers generally are not given as gifts. Good gifts are generally works of art from your home country, such as small paintings, sculptures, and other memorabilia that will most likely decorate their offices. If you are aware that your potential business partner has children, a very good idea is to bring a gift for their children.


Albanians dress in European fashion and lively colours, with business attire being more casual than their European colleagues and their business behaviour more laid back.

Albanians may dress casual for important meetings; women sometimes may dress in a bit revealing attire. Often not much attention is paid to equipment of conference rooms or other meeting places and these auditoriums may be smaller than anticipated for large and important meetings.





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