Customs in Austria
The official language of Austria is German, spoken by approximately 98% of the population.
The currency used in Austria is the Euro (EUR) - €
Austrian families are usually quite small and live within close proximity to one another. Austrians have strong family values and weekends are dedicated to spending time together and participating in activities such as hiking and dinner with the grandparents.
Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization
Most Austrians greet others formally by shaking hands and saying "Gruss dich" (greet you). Upon departure, hands are shaken again, this time with "Auf Wiedersehen" (good-bye). When entering a room, shake hands with everyone present - including children. While older Viennese gentlemen may kiss the hand of a female upon meeting, it is unacceptable for a foreigner to kiss an Austrian woman's hand.
When initially meeting someone, it is appropriate to use last names and titles until asked otherwise. Formal titles are Herr for a man and Frau for women over the age of 18 (regardless of marital status). Upon meeting someone with a professional title, such as a doctor, it is important that you call them Herr/Frau + Doctor + Surname. Example: Herr Doktor Moser.
If you are invited to dinner, you should bring a small gift such as chocolates or flowers. When giving flowers, do not bring lilies, chrysanthemums or red carnations and make sure you are bringing an odd number of flowers, as even numbers mean bad luck (with the exception of 12). Attire should be conservative and you should be punctual. Dinner will commence after everyone is shown to their seats and the hostess says, "Guten Appetit!" (Enjoy your meal). When the host gives a toast, clink glasses and say,"Prost!"
If you invite someone to dinner, it is customary for you to pay the bill. If an Austrian invites you to dinner, they will pay. Do not reach for the tab as they do not appreciative of a struggle over who is paying, no matter how friendly the tussle.
When it comes to tipping, gratuity is accepted and appreciated in Austria:
Round the bill up, or tip 5-10%. Tip in cash, give the gratuity to your
waiter or waitress directly.
Customs and Etiquette in Business
When speaking with a business associate, you must use the formal word for "you" (sie) as opposed to the informal (du). Associates should be addressed by their academic title and surname.
In an office environment, everyone is focused and goal oriented; there is little joking around and/or small talk. Communication is formal and overzealousness is considered inappropriate and unacceptable.
Business meetings are conservative and formal. Men should be dressed in dark colored business suits with white shirts, while women should wear conservative dresses or business suits.
There is no strict protocol to follow when exchanging business cards. Although not necessary, it is polite to have one side of your card should be translated into German. Have any advanced university degrees and the founding date of your company printed on your card.