Best Polish Etiquette in Warsaw

Dining etiquette is a perfect reflection of the warmth in the Polish personality. You should arrive on time and be dressed quite conservatively. You may be expected to take off your shoes. Once inside be sure to offer help with the food preparation or clearing up after a meal is served; most hosts won’t need your help and will insist you to relax, while a minority of hosts may truly need your help. Either way, the offer will be very much appreciated. This is good manners. This will more often than not be turned down out of politeness.

As the meals are served, let your host take the lead as dinner may begin simply by eating, a prayer, or a toast. You should try everything you are served as turning down food may make your host feel like he or she must make a new dish for you. Poles eat in the continental style; knife in the right hand, fork in the left.

In business meetings, the inviter is expected to pay for the entire meal, although it is expected that you offer to assist with the bill.

Business Etiquette

Poles usually define people on the basis of first impressions. For that reason, be sure to follow the conservative dress rule. Men should wear business suits with pressed white/blue shirts and ties. Women should dress in a professional manner by wearing tailored suits or dresses that command a business presence, with heels. For smaller companies, executives will typically be dressed in a casual business style with slacks or even jeans and a sweater or jacket. The Polish do not appreciate shows of wealth, so keep jewelry to a minimum and avoid flashy, expensive clothing. Make sure that the clothes are clean and well-pressed.

Titles are considered prestigious on Poles, so make a point of having the name of your position enlarged on the Polish side. Academic or professional titles are used with the honorific titles with or without the surname. Be sure to go to Warsaw, Poland with a lot of business cards in hand, because you will be trading them with almost everyone you meet. If you earned any academic degrees, these should also be printed on your card.

The handshake is the most typical Polish greeting, both when meeting and departing. You should allow a Polish woman to initiate the handshake. You may also experience Polish men greeting a woman by kissing her hand.