This section is to introduce you to what you should expect to happen in a standard business meeting.
When you arrive for a meeting, you will start with introductions and a firm handshake with everyone present, which include all men, women, and older children if present. When introducing yourself, listen to how your Irish counter parts introduce themselves. Titles do not hold much weight with the Irish people. They may feel you think you are superior to them. The Irish feel that you should be know on who you are, and not what you have done in the past. Be sure that when you are talking with someone, or they are talking to you that you maintain eye contact. The Irish people will feel that you are an untrustworthy individual person if you do not maintain eye contact. Business cards are usually exchanged after introduction with no formal ceremony or tradition.
After the initial introductions are handled, but before the meeting starts, people will usually chat about small things like how the trip to the meeting went, or how the weather is. It is very important to the Irish to establish a rapport with the people they work with so that they can trust them. Do not be surprised if the people you are having a meeting with show up a few minutes late. The Irish people have a very relaxed sense of time, so they may show up a few minutes late. With that in mind, until we have a strong bond with them, it is in our best interest not to show up late as this may lead them to think we are lazy or that we do not respect them.
Once the meeting has started, everyone present will be expected to give their two cents worth. The Irish people are very friendly and feel that everyone present should have a chance to speak their mind. Although the Irish have an easy going view on time, they are also usually quite busy, so be sure to keep your presentations concise and to the point. Since the Irish have such a laid back attitude, expect to receive some good natured teasing during the meeting, but feel free to tease back as long as you do so in good fun. Family is also a big part of the Irish people's lives. Expect to hear about any family also involved with the business, and if a family member was to die, you would be expected to attend the funeral. Even if you haven't met with the deceased personally.
Be sure to expect the Irish people to agree with most everything you say. The Irish are very polite and are not likely to disagree with anything you say. You will have to watch and listen to them and if they pause or hesitate before agreeing, that is a pretty good sign that they disagree with your statement. Another fact to be aware of is that the Irish people have a tendency to put themselves down. Because of this, never agree to any statement they say regarding themselves. If you do, you will offend them and it will be a quick end to any plans we have for business.