Meetings and Negotiating
Always be punctual when doing business in Russia. However do not take offence if your Russian counterpart is not. It is not unknown for Russian business people to turn up hours late. A good indication of how serious a meeting is taken is how punctual (!) they are.
Initial meetings are usually approached as a formality. It is at this stage that your credibility will be assessed. The best strategy is to appear very firm and dignified, while maintaining an air of warmth and approachability.
Pitches or presentations should be simple and straightforward.The most critical element is demonstrating your knowledge, professionalism and expertise.
Many Russian business personnel speak good English so presenting in the language is not a problem. If it could be then hire a Russian interpreter. It is however that you make the effort to present anything written in Russian.
Negotiations (переговOры - pyeryegavOry) are an interesting affair for anyone doing business in Russia. They are tough and like to indulge in a fair amount of theatre if necessary. Their main aim is to gain concessions so there will be a lengthy process of grinding you down.
Generally speaking, Russians view compromise as a sign of weakness. Don't be surprised by loss of tempers, walkouts, threats to end the deal, and similar incidents. It's all part of the fun.
This videoclip shows what you can expect while making business in Russia.
Doing business, conducting meetings, making crucial decisions, negotiating and getting to know each other is increasingly being done at lunch or dinner . If your Russian counterpart decides to invite you out do not refuse the request as it would be considered rude.
Remember Russians do like a drop or two of alcohol. Refusing to drink is unacceptable unless you give an excuse, such as explaining that health or religious reasons prevent you from doing it. Always bear in mind that you are negotiating so you must know your limit (!).