Irish business culture guide - Learn about Ireland
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Irish business culture guide - Learn about Ireland

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Ireland. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at ...

http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Ireland. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide.

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    Irish business culture guide - Learn about Ireland Irish business culture guide - Learn about Ireland Document Transcript

    •            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Ireland   http://businessculture.org/northerneurope/ireland Content Template businessculture.org   Content  Germany   This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the view only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
    •            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Business  Culture  in  Ireland  .......................................................................................................  4   Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Ireland .............................................................................................5   International Business in Ireland ..........................................................................................................5   General Education ................................................................................................................................6   Educational standards ...........................................................................................................................6   Other Issues such as transportation infrastructure ................................................................................7   Cultural taboos ......................................................................................................................................7   Business  Communication  ..........................................................................................................  8   Face-to-face communication .................................................................................................................8   Language Matters .................................................................................................................................9   Business Relationships ...........................................................................................................................9   Making contact......................................................................................................................................9   Personal Titles .....................................................................................................................................10   Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  11   Corporate Social Responsibility ..........................................................................................................11   Punctuality ..........................................................................................................................................11   Gift giving ............................................................................................................................................12   Business Dress Code ............................................................................................................................12   Bribery and corruption........................................................................................................................13   Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  14   Importance of Business Meeting .........................................................................................................14   Business Meeting planning ..................................................................................................................14   Negotiation process .............................................................................................................................15   Meeting protocol .................................................................................................................................16   How to Run a Business Meeting .........................................................................................................16   Follow up letter after meeting with client............................................................................................17   Business meals .....................................................................................................................................17   businessculture.org   Content  Ireland  
    •            |  3     Business Meeting tips ..........................................................................................................................18   Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  19   Work experience .................................................................................................................................19   Internship and Placement advice ........................................................................................................19   Social security and European health insurance ..................................................................................19   Safety ...................................................................................................................................................20   Do I need a visa? .................................................................................................................................20   Internship and placement salary .........................................................................................................20   Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................21   Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  22   Money and Banking ............................................................................................................................22   Traveling costs.....................................................................................................................................23   Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  24   National holidays.................................................................................................................................24   Working hours .....................................................................................................................................25   Health insurance .................................................................................................................................25   Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  26   Private individuals ...............................................................................................................................26   SMEs ...................................................................................................................................................27   Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business .........................................................27   businessculture.org   Content  Ireland  
    •            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Ireland     Did you know about business culture in Ireland? Watch this video animation to find out some interesting facts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhFzJF-jqDw Ireland enjoys a strategic location on one of the major sea and air routes between northern Europe and North America. Ireland, whose Gaelic name is Eire, occupies five-sixths of the island of Ireland which is to the west of Great Britain. The country is divided into four provinces – Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster and 26 counties. Dublin is the capital of Ireland. The Irish identify themselves more with their counties than with the cities from which they come. Inevitably, there are a number of stereotypes between the Irish concerning the characteristics of people coming from a particular county. The counties are subdivisions of the ancient Provinces of Ireland that were historically based on the traditional geographical areas. Today, the division of the country into counties is still important and has been adopted by cultural and sporting organisations that organise their activities along county lines. The history of the country dates back to 600-150 B.C. when Celtic tribes arrived on the island. A significant point in Irish history is the English invasion, which started in the 12th century, beginning more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by violent rebellions and harsh repressions. In 1921, 26 southern counties gained independence from the UK and the Irish Free State was created. In 1948, Ireland extracted itself from the British Commonwealth and in 1973 joined the European Community. The division of the island into Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic was primarily based on the religious orientation of the people. Northern Ireland is characterised by a strong protestant community whereas in the Irish Republic, catholic orientation is prevalent. This religion-based division and issues stemming from it has been the biggest issue in Ireland’s history in the 20th century. In Ireland there businessculture.org   Content  Germany  
    •              |  5   still exist various opinions as to whether the two countries should unite or stay separate. In the past, the tension between the groups advocating different views has caused several conflicts. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, known as the Good Friday Agreement, was finally approved in 1998 and is being implemented, albeit with some difficulties. The official languages are English and Irish. Irish is still a spoken language in Gaeltacht areas, which include the Aran Islands together with areas located mainly along the western and south-western seaboard Ireland is in the Greenwich Mean Time zone. However, during the summertime (March to October) the clock is moved forward by one hour to accommodate Daylight Saving Time (DST). Irish weather is notoriously rainy. The humid climate is particularly favourable for local flora. Ireland is famous for its beautiful scenery and, indeed, is often poetically called the “emerald island”. In the past, following its succession to the EU in 1973, Ireland was regarded as one of the poorest EU member countries. However, since the early 1990’s, the country has experienced an economic boom and today represents one of the most progressive European countries with a goal to move forward as a knowledge economy. As a result, Ireland is now perceived as a magnet for inward investment in terms of both finance and people. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Ireland     The Irish are a very sociable nation and place great value on the individual. They are proud of their identity and do not expect visitors to treat them as anything other than the modern Europeans they are. The Irish are naturally polite, go out of their way to welcome visitors to their country and make every effort not to offend anyone. As a result, some foreigners may find them rather indirect and superficial. In Ireland, life seems to be more relaxed than in Western Europe. The Irish enjoy spending time with their friends and families which are closely-knit and very important to their quality of life. The Irish often perceive work as a “necessary evil”. There is a saying “don’t rush the Irish” that seems to be still valid. In the afternoons, local pubs are full of people who come to have a chat over a cup of tea or to enjoy the traditional Irish drink – Guinness stout beer. Irish people are considered flexible and are great at improvising. Their planning and strategies however, are usually short term. This is particularly important to keep in mind when doing business with an Irish counterpart, as a knowledge of their preferences may help you to focus on their specific needs. In an Irish business meeting it is best to only give your opinion about a subject if you are well informed. The Irish do not appreciate cheap and boastful talk. They value facts and empirical evidence. Emotions do not play an important part is business negotiations. Irish people can be quite tough and skilful negotiators who are able to find out a large amount of information about strangers while revealing little themselves. The best strategy for persuasion is to use as many facts as possible. International  Business  in  Ireland   When conducting business in a foreign country it is crucial to be prepared to deal with issues that might be culturally sensitive. Even a small amount of study of the local culture can do wonders in aiding successful communication with business counterparts. Without putting in the time to prepare and plan properly, you may find yourself affected by so called “culture shock” which may negatively businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  6   impact the outcome of your business dealings. As a business traveller, you will probably be confronted with the need to attend a business meeting perhaps shortly after your arrival. This section of the document provides an insight into the most relevant cultural issues as well as suggestions for overcoming them. It provides an introduction to Ireland’s general business environment and examines traditional values and attitudes of the Irish and how these impact on the business world. It also explains how to deal with the issue of business ethics and highlights areas in business culture that may be perceived as particularly distinctive in different cultures. The final part of the section discusses the nature of education in Ireland with a particular focus on issues that are business-related. General  Education   Ireland enjoys a long and respected tradition in education. Adult literacy is about 98% nationwide. Due to high levels of education, the natural use of the English language together with membership of the European Union, over the last decade, Ireland has been Europe’s fastest growing economy and is seen as one of the world’s high tech centres. Education and training are vital components within Ireland’s economy, which is very much knowledge-based, and are a priority under the National Development Plan (NDP). Importance is also attached to the partnership between the education and industry sectors in order to address immediate education and skills needs. One of the main skills fostered amongst Irish students is computer literacy. The country, in general, has a very good computer literacy profile, particularly amongst the younger generation. For managers of all age groups it is expected that they will have developed ICT skills, as the use of information technology is widespread within the Irish business environment. In Ireland education is mostly free and is compulsory from age six to fifteen. The Irish Education System is traditionally separated into 3 levels: Primary (lasting 8 years), Secondary (lasting 5 or 6 years) and tertiary , which offers a wide spectrum of opportunities from post secondary courses, to technical and vocational training, to university degrees as well as post-graduate degrees. Over recent years, an emphasis has been placed on the idea of lifelong learning and the education system has expanded to include education at almost every stage of an individual’s development. As a result of a continual investment in education, Ireland can now boast a participation rate that is one of the highest in the world. 81 per cent of Irish students complete secondary education and about 60 per cent pursue their studies into higher education. Ireland was amongst the first of the European countries to understand the important role education plays in the success of the economy, and studies indicate that the up-skilling of the labour force has added almost 1% per annum to national output. The proportion of 25-34 year olds who have gained tertiary education now stands at 37%, compared to an EU average of 27% and a US average of 40%. As a consequence, the highly educated population of Ireland has been a major attraction for international companies wishing to hire graduates for top positions. Educational  standards   In order to be better prepared for your business meeting, it is advisable to have at least a partial knowledge of the language and an understanding of the computer competency of business people in the host country. This helps you to decide whether to bring over an interpreter or whether you can rely on local managers to speak a foreign language. Furthermore, with the knowledge of your counterpart’s computer literacy you can incorporate an appropriate level of information technology businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  7   into your business activities. The following sections describe the main trends in the areas of general education, cultural awareness and foreign language competence. Other  Issues  such  as  transportation  infrastructure   To make sure you get off on the right foot, it is essential to use the correct denominations when referring to the national identity of your Irish counterparts. Keep in mind that Ireland is an independent country distinct from the United Kingdom. Green, white and orange are the national colours of Ireland and can be seen at many social events. Ireland’s most significant international airports are Cork, Dublin, and Shannon. All of them provide flights to Europe, the UK, and North America. The country’s national airline, Aer Lingus, and budget airline Ryanair are headquartered in Dublin. There are also several smaller, regional airports situated at Galway, Kerry, Knock, Sligo and Waterford, which are mainly used for domestic flights and flights to the United Kingdom. When driving around Ireland, motorists must drive on the left. Unfortunately, driving on the wrong side of the road still accounts for many accidents. There is an extensive road network across Ireland. Ferry services operate between Dublin and Holyhead in Wales (UK) and alsobetween Rosslare, Fishguard and Pembroke (UK). It is also possible to sail from Cork to St Malo, Cherbourg and Le Harve in northern France. Due to the geography of Ireland in extreme weather, flights and ferry sailings are sometimes cancelled. If travelling in the winter months, it is advisable to check that the method of transport you are planning to use is operating normally before setting out on your journey. It is rare for flights to be cancelled, but ferry crossings do get cancelled, often at short notice, in the winter months. Cultural  taboos   If a subject that is inappropriate is introduced, your Irish counterpart will be quick to point this out. As a golden rule, it is essential to keep in mind that Ireland and Northern Ireland are two completely separate countries and political entities, since many conversational issues arise from this difference. Although under certain circumstances it may be acceptable, the topic of Anglo-Irish relations should be avoided in business conversations. Despite the approval of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the notion of the Anglo-Irish struggle still lives on in Irish society. By discussing it, the speakers put themselves on very thin ice and may endanger otherwise harmonious relationships. Other controversial topics in Ireland include the English, immigrants, the Catholic Church, crime and sexual identity. It is also sensible to avoid asking personal questions about a person’s background, religion, age, previous or current relationships, children, appearance or weight, earnings and occupation – unless these topics are raised by the host. Behaviours that should be avoided are, for instance, greeting strangers with a kiss and spitting in public. The Irish are generally a “politically correct” nation, where it is best not to make assumptions about people based on appearances. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  8   Business  Communication   The following section focuses on the communication aspects of business practice and outlines practical points to bear in mind when making contact with an Irish counterpart. The normative practices mentioned in this section will apply to the majority of everyday situations, however, you should bear in mind that the recommendations here are meant only as general indicator of best practice and do not take into account distinctive local customs and habits. Thus it is advisable to adjust your approach according to your business associate and follow his/her lead if possible. Communication habits differ across cultures. Gestures that are appropriate in your home country may be unacceptable in the host country. However, not only does the non-verbal part of communication differ, the contents of the conversation often also vary. Thus you may find that some topics seem to be discussed more frequently within a given culture whereas the same conversation may be considered taboo somewhere else. Such errors in communication may have a serious impact on the success of the negotiation process. On the other hand, as the Irish are a significantly culturally aware nation, in many cases they may help you to overcome any initial discomfort. If you want to build a positive image, you need to start at the very beginning of the communication process. The following section will provide you with information on both verbal- and non-verbal communication issues with a particular focus on the initial stage of contact. Special attention is devoted to the use of titles in Irish business. Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   The Irish people’s reputation as good conversationalists is well-deserved. They enjoy conversations on topical and everyday issues. Furthermore, the Irish do not just say what needs to be said. They enjoy telling witty or philosophical stories and value people who have the flair for amusing conversations. The Irish are generally very polite and warm. They love their country and enjoy life as it comes. They see the family as a central part of their lives and adjust their working life to family needs. As a very sociable nation, the Irish enjoy having fun with the language by making jokes. Everyday conversation is usually permeated with numerous jokes, direct or indirect, that are, however, usually met with bewilderment by foreigners. If the jokes are made at your expense, it is expected that you will be a good sport and put up with it, joining in the fun and making a joke as well. When you enter the office in Ireland, you should say “good morning” to each person you know. However, you do not need to shake hands. “How are you?” is popular as a casual greeting after which just saying “hello” is expected. When business cards are handed out, you should present your card first to the secretary and then after the meeting, to the individuals you were meeting. The Irish are notorious for their passion to converse and debate. There are a number of “safe” topics, such as the weather, sport, hobbies and transport. It is also possible to debate about religion and politics, however, in these cases you should wait until your Irish counterpart brings these two subjects up. When the debate about these sensitive topics starts, you should be prepared to hear opinions that are very strong and often confrontational. It is not necessary to stay overly shy about joining in the discussion, since the Irish are entertained by arguments and opinionated conversation. Thus you businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  9   should not hesitate to express your views as long as you are sincere and informed. Generally, the Irish are particularly proud of their history and expect visitors to understand and appreciate their complex past. At all times, it is advisable to remain honest and avoid arrogance. The Irish will constantly examine your actions to make a judgement on your competence and abilities. The best possible approach is to remain open, modest, relaxed and humble. Furthermore, try to keep in check any behaviour like nervousness, officiousness, or self-importance. Language  Matters   Although Irish Gaelic is the first official language of Ireland, it is only spoken by around a third of the population. English, the second official language, is the language most commonly used and business meetings in Ireland are usually conducted in English. However, if you engage yourself in conversation with the locals, you will find that Irish people have their own distinctive way of speaking English. This is partly because they speak English as if they were speaking Irish. Nowadays, the Irish language is spoken in only a few parts of the country known as the Gaeltacht. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that Irish is still the official language of the Republic of Ireland and it still exerts a significant influence over the way Irish people speak. In every region there are various accents and although business partners usually pay attention to the clarity of their speech, the language is rarely completely free of local dialects. If your English is not at an appropriate level for a business negotiation, it is advisable to ensure that interpreting facilities are available. However, apart from speaking the traditional Irish language, the knowledge of other languages is not widespread in Ireland. Of course, it is possible to find exceptions to this rule, but , in general, it is recommended not to expect your Irish counterparts to speak any foreign languages. Business  Relationships   Business relationships in Ireland are similar to those of other Western European countries, normally formalised in writing, and depending on what has been agreed, signed by both parties as confirmation of the agreement. Many organisations will agree the details of their discussions verbally between themselves, but this is normally followed up in writing to officially confirm the details. More informal matters can be agreed verbally, and do not need to be confirmed in writing. It is better to clarify with the other party what will happen following a discussion or meeting, this way there will be no misunderstandings between the parties. Making  contact   The Irish are not very physically and emotionally demonstrative. Public displays of affection are uncommon, particularly in the business environment. Loud, aggressive, and arrogant behaviour is seen in a negative light by the Irish. Patting, hugging or touching other men in public is considered socially unacceptable, the only exception being a ‘well done’ slap on the back”. The Irish use gestures very sparingly and foreigners need to be aware of cultural differences in this area. For instance, it must be remembered that a “reverse V for victory” gesture is thought of as extremely obscene in Ireland. Touch one’s nose means, “keep this a secret” or “it is just between us.” businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  10   Generally, the Irish are very friendly people with a great sense of humour and their behaviour is less formal than is the custom in Western Europe. Their considerable cultural awareness helps them to be more tolerant towards members of other nations. When making contact, an arm’s length distance should be kept at all times since in Ireland it is important to maintain personal space. The Irish avoid any kind of physical contact apart from the warm handshake that is the accepted custom at first meetings. In particular, men should try not to be too physically demonstrative with women. Irish people normally prefer direct eye contact and perceive people who avoid it to be untrustworthy. Therefore, when talking to an Irish person you should not break eye contact. If you want to develop a network of Irish associates quickly, the best way to do so is to be introduced by people from within the network as it is said that introductions are the currency that makes Irish business go around. Personal  Titles   In business environments first names are commonly used. However, as a golden rule, it is advisable to follow the example set by your Irish associates. If an Irish counterpart addresses you by your title and last name, you should do the same. Later on, when your relationship has developed, it is reasonable to assume that first names will be used. In Ireland terms like “sir” and “madam” are very seldom used. The Irish do not draw overt attention to academic qualifications or personal achievements, unlike the nationals of many other European countries. Only if an Irish counterpart has been to a renowned academic institution, can it be expected that this will be mentioned at some point during the conversation. Generally, it is seen as arrogant to discuss one’s own academic or professional accomplishments. Such behaviour usually results in the speaker being laughed at. Simply put, in Ireland, titles, whether professional or academic, don’t necessarily command respect and their use is perceived as a form of boasting. Irish people believe that respect and the esteem of others must be earned. In business correspondence, particularly during the initial stage, last names preceded by “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, or “Ms.” should be used. However, similarly to the practice when speaking, the Irish tend to move quickly on to first names. When in Ireland you may come across many slang words that are typical of the local culture. Most probably, you will hear the Irish addressing themselves “yer wan” referring to anyone of the female sex or “yer man” which is the male equivalent. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  11   Business  Etiquette     Attitudes and values exist at the core of any culture. They are a reflection of the way people think and behave and having an understanding of these can aid you significantly in successfully concluding your negotiations. For example, you will note in the following section, that both relationships and family are hugely important to the Irish. This can be traced back to the agricultural nature of Irish employment, where large families were necessary to maintain farms. This is one of the biggest points of difference between Ireland and other fast-paced Western European countries. Therefore, when conducting business with the Irish it is important to bear in mind that family and relationships are as significant as the business itself. Using this knowledge can help you overcome many difficulties and ensure that you achieve a successful outcome in your business negotiations. However, as important as it is, family is not the only significant element in Irish culture. The following section outlines other specifics and highlights their implications for business practice. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   Over the past few years, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement has gathered great momentum in Ireland and is now regarded as one of the most important topics. However, some studies indicate that CSR in Ireland is a relatively new issue compared with other. The research also noted that CSR was more prominent in multinational firms based in Ireland than in indigenous Irish firms. To recognise corporate social responsibility’s growing importance and the role it plays in enhancing both corporate reputations as well as communities, Chambers Ireland has done much to highlight CSR activities throughout the country and has attempted to develop practical policies together with guidelines to encourage the further development of CSR programmes. Chambers Ireland is focusing on establishing and fostering best practice in CSR and initiatives to advocate awareness of the potential of CSR amongst small companies as well as big corporations. The Council includes a number of CSR specialists and high-status business leaders. The Chambers Ireland President’s Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility were created in 2004 in order to recognise the work conducted by Irish and multinational companies to enhance the civic environment in which they exist, as well as to improve the lives of their employees. This competition provides the opportunity for the business community to advertise their efforts in CSR and to obtain recognition for best practice. There is a variety of categories in which the awards are presented, covering all areas of CSR. Punctuality   Time keeping practices in Ireland differ for foreigners and local associates. When travelling to Ireland to do business, you should ensure that you arrive on time. Being late is seen as impolite and inconsiderate. Thus, it is essential to plan your appointments carefully and to ensure you allocate enough time for transport arrangements. This applies particularly when in Dublin, where there is traffic congestion. If you happen to be running late, you are expected to phone the other party to apologise and inform them about the time of your arrival. If your delay is significant, you should consider postponing the meeting. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  12   On the other hand, as a foreign associate, you are expected to give your Irish counterparts the leeway to be late. Generally, the Irish are not very time conscious and very often are not punctual for business or social meetings. However, usually they are not more than 15 minutes late. When the waiting exceeds this period you should consider telephoning them and re-arranging the meeting. The Irish relaxed attitude to time also has an impact on delivery deadlines. For the Irish there is no shame in missing a delivery date so it is essential to keep this in mind and allow for some latitude here. With effective planning and communication these issues can easily be resolved. Gift  giving   In general, gift giving is not expected for business purposes. If you decide to give a present, the best occasion is at the successful conclusion of negotiations. However, gifts are not expected in Irish business culture. If you receive an invitation to an Irish home for dinner, you would be expected to bring a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a craft gift from your home region, a box of pastries or a bottle of wine. Particularly suitable is an illustrated book representing your home region. A preserved food product that is unique to your home region is another option; however, preserves must be sealed – canned or bottled – or Irish customs will probably confiscate them. In Ireland, it is advisable to follow certain rules for giving flowers. Unsuitable flowers are lilies and red or white flowers. Lilies are considered to be appropriate for religious occasions only, and red or white coloured flowers are said to symbolise death. It is essential to remember that the cost of the gift is considered to be far less important than making a thoughtful choice. Avoid giving expensive or grandiose gifts. If you happen to receive a gift from your Irish counterpart, you should open it in front of the giver and express your gratitude. Similarly, it is expected that you will send a thank-you note after receiving a gift or being a dinner guest. Business  Dress  Code   The standard business dress in Ireland is smart and conservative. Formal suits work best in most situations however, in general, dress tends to be less formal than in Western Europe. Traditional style is represented by tweeds, wools and subdued colours. Particularly unsuitable are flashy colours and styles. Occasionally, jackets may be taken off, particularly during the summer. It is advisable to follow the lead of your business partners and adjust your style to theirs. However, at the initial stages of the contact a more formal style of clothing is appropriate. You will also notice a difference between urban and rural business people. In the country they are generally very friendly and open, making an informal business approach most successful in this environment. Women are expected to be well and fashionably dressed and suits or dresses and blazers are recommended. Wearing trousers is still not common for women in Ireland. Irish people can also have a negative attitude towards people wearing “extravagant” jewellery, and are themselves generally understated with their jewellery as it can be seen as a statement of status or wealth. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  13     Last but not least a raincoat is a must in Ireland. Do not go out without waterproof clothing! Bribery  and  corruption   In general, corruption does not constitute a significant issue for foreign investors in Ireland. There are only minor areas of concern where some issues related to bribery and corruption have been reported. In the past, a small number of public officials have been convicted of corruption however this is not a common occurrence. Other issues have been reported in the pharmaceuticals industry, such as the theft of hospital funds and the complicity of pharmaceutical companies, health workers and public officials in selling or prescribing unsuitable or counterfeit drugs to patients. Currently, there are calls for further police reforms in order to deal with systemic corruption within the police force. The most discussed issue is the introduction of whistleblower legislation seen as vital for the prevention and detection of corruption in Ireland. However, overall, in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, Ireland ranks 69th (on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  14   Business  Meeting  Etiquette     Business meetings are a way of corporate life in Ireland. As you will be travelling from a foreign country, it is essential to ensure that the facilities that you require for your business meetings are available and ready to use. Thus, it is advisable to plan your meeting and circulate agendas in advance in order to ensure that everyone is prepared. Proper planning and preparation are the necessary prerequisites to the success of any business meeting in a foreign country. When making a decision regarding the content of the meeting and considering the negotiation strategy, it is important to be prepared for cultural differences that may come up in meetings and adjust your strategy accordingly . The following section deals with different stages of business meetings and highlights the most culturally sensitive issues in this area. Importance  of  Business  Meeting   With Irish counterparts, business meetings are usually easily arranged at practically all organisational levels. Many Irish executives are pleasant, approachable and willing to meet to discuss potential business. However, this does not mean that the deal is done. The Irish are generally somewhat reserved with strangers and overseas businessmen must build up trust before the actual negotiation process can start. Thus, the importance of small talk at the beginning of the meeting cannot be overemphasised. Also, you should ensure that plenty of time is allowed for the negotiation process as it may take considerably longer to complete a deal than you might think. Another obstacle you may face is numerous “gatekeepers” in the form of secretaries who filter visitors (mostly based on unknown criteria) for some senior executives.. In these cases, a pleasant chat to the secretary and a small gift may work miracles. In general, the best policy is to arrange an appointment at least two weeks in advance. It is also good practice to call a day ahead of an arranged meeting to confirm your attendance. Before you set up a meeting, you should spend some time getting to know people in order to become part of their network. Very often an unprepared business meeting may prove to be useless as the necessary social network has not been developed. Thus, it is advisable to discover the relationships in the company first in order to find out who is the key decision maker. This will help to ensure that only competent people are involved in the meeting. An alternative way of developing business networks is to attend various trade events and to join professional associations, which serve as an ideal forum for making business contacts. Business  Meeting  planning   When choosing a time to set up a meeting, the months of July and August should be avoided as this is the main vacation time in Ireland. Other periods when it is advisable to avoid setting up business meetings are the first week of May, Christmas, Easter or New Year since many executives will be on holiday during these times. Generally, the best time for business visits is from September to May. Meetings should not be arranged for the early morning as, due to traffic congestion, it may be quite difficult for the parties to attend on time. Lunch meetings are more appropriate. The golden rule is to businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  15   make arrangements for appointments in advance and allow enough time to complete business matters bearing in mind thatin Ireland this may take longer than in your home country. Business meetings over a cup of coffee in a good hotel have been growing in popularity in recent years. The foyers of most Dublin and city hotels are particularly suitable for such events allowing the counterparts to meet in an agreeable atmosphere. A major advantage of these meetings is the informality, where no pressure is put on either of the parties and they can make a clear decision on whether they wish to engage themselves further in the business discussed. As a consequence, this kind of encounter is particularly useful at the initial stage of a business relationship. At a later stage, a more formal meeting in a traditional conference room is more appropriate. Another option is a meeting in a pub or bar as these places are extremely popular in Ireland. They are more appropriate for informal social events, rather than business meetings. However, as business and social bonds are equally important and often inseparable, it is more than probable, particularly at the later stages of a business relationship, that your Irish counterparts will propose this option. Alternatively, meetings can be arranged for a later hour and business can be discussed over dinner. The golf course is also a suitable venue for conducting business in Ireland. When deciding which managers from the home country to send as a negotiator, it seems, regrettably, more advisable to send a man. Although Irish society is changing, Irish women are still struggling for some of their rights at work and to be appointed to positions of authority. Consequently, in the workplace women are not always treated as equals, which is why it is advisable for foreign companies to send a male manager in the probability that he would be respected more. Generally, business is best initiated through a well-connected third party. Connections and networking are vital for business success. If you can involve any of your Irish business acquaintances with a new partner, you should not hesitate to do so. Negotiation  process   During the negotiations, you should speak plainly and appreciate that what you say will be taken literally. Similarly, you should interpret what your Irish counterparts say in the same direct manner. In the early stages of a business relationship there is usually a lot of banter and any wild promises should not be expected to come to fruition. Before the actual negotiation process can start, it is necessary to gain trust and credibility. The Irish buy mainly from the Irish or from people within their network of contacts and foreigners often find it difficult to penetrate these networks. It can be quite time consuming and requires a lot of persistence to gain trust and prove that you can offer something that your partner cannot get from an Irish supplier. Cool-headedness is typically required for negotiations with the Irish and trying to do business in a hurry does not usually bring success. The Irish value directness, so your presentation should be straightforward, and emphasise the positive as well as any negative outcomes. Always be sincere and keep the presentation simple and to the point . The Irish dislike pretentious behaviour. In particular, they dislike being pressured. Aggressive sales techniques are generally unpopular. However, you should be prepared to bargain and negotiate over prices. You should not be misled by the seemingly relaxed and amiable atmosphere that your Irish counterparts will probably try to impose from the beginning of the meeting. In negotiations, the Irish are astute and tenacious and are masters of gaining information from other people whilst not disclosing businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  16   their own position . In some cases, they might just want to “steal” your ideas. Thus it is advisable not to reveal all your information, but to wait until you are sure about your counterpart’s commitment. When negotiating, you should avoid being ostentatious about wealth. Many Irish are quite ambivalent about this topic and excessive financial displays are usually frowned upon. Thus, it is essential to remain modest at all times as the Irish do not typically trust authority and are cautious of people who might consider themselves to be somehow superior to others. The Irish are notoriously famous for their short term, profit focused orientation. You should bear this in mind when negotiating and try to address their need for short-term gains in your offer. Another Irish characteristic is to want to do things their way so you should not insist on them doing it “your way”. Rather, you should try to think about the possibilities to implement your idea in the Irish environment. In Ireland, established laws and rules usually supersede one’s personal feelings. Company policies and regulation are followed at all times. The Irish place a high value on facts and empirical evidence. Feelings of any kind are usually dismissed with suspicion, particularly when making decisions. In particular, the Irish do not tend to trust people who give effusive praise as this behaviour is seen as suspicious and aimed to mislead them in some way. Keeping this in mind, you can focus your presentation on facts and not put unnecessary effort into the emotional part of the negotiation process. Meeting  protocol   At the beginning of a business meeting you are expected to shake hands with everyone present. Usually, the same procedure is repeated at the end of an encounter. The handshake should be firm and accompanied by eye contact. Subsequently, business cards are usually exchanged and both parties indulge in an informal conversation before they proceed to the salient points of the meeting. The casual, even humorous conversation that often opens a business meeting is an important part of Irish business culture and serves as an ice-breaking device. In Irish business it is important to establish a rapport. A particularly suitable topic for the initial conversation is the weather – however, keep in mind that Irish perceptions of the weather very often differ from the European concept – for example, both mist and soft rain are not viewed negatively. Topics that should be avoided include politics, specifically troubles with the UK as well as the issue of Protestants vs. Catholics. Discussions tend to be quite lengthy. Avoid short answers as they are seen as brusque. Silence during the initial period of a meeting will often be perceived as rudeness and you will appear cold and unfriendly to your Irish counterparts. However, the informal nature of the initial part of the meeting does not mean that you should resort to excessive familiarity. Reserved manners are still valued in Irish society and, mainly at the initial stage, meetings should be low key. How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   When running a formal meeting the most important thing to be aware of is the planning and preparation necessary to ensure the meeting achieves its objectives. Ensure all the required attendees are aware of the meeting, and any necessary work they may need to do in advance of the meeting. It is important that you know who will be attending, and that they have confirmed their attendance, or if they cannot attend, who will be replacing them. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  17   Ensure the location is thought through, that the room has all the required facilities, and holds enough space for the numbers likely to attend. If you are responsible for the meeting, it is advisable to arrive early to check the room layout, chairs, desk or tables etc. It is important that any language issues are thought through, and that an interpreter is available if required. This may need arranging a number of weeks beforehand, to ensure the appropriate interpreter is available. Any presentations that have been completed and sent in advance for example, on power point, should be available, and someone should be made responsible for the management of the presentations. It is courteous in Ireland to allow other people to speak, and not to interrupt them when they are speaking. It is also useful to obtain feedback after the meeting to establish what the attendees thought of the content and what was discussed. Irish people generally tend to be fairly calm, and will not be too concerned should a difficulty arise in the meeting. In less formal meetings, the lack of an agenda is not always a bad thing, as the Irish prefer to improvise rather than be too rigid. If unsure, it is best to check with a secretary or contact you have in the organisation. If you are planning to meet in one of Ireland’s many pubs, cafes or restaurants, ensure beforehand that the venue can accommodate your party. Going to the pub may sound like a great idea, but an overcrowded noisy establishment might not be conducive to what you need to discuss. If you have to leave at a certain time to catch a flight, train etc., the Irish will not mind, as they are generally relaxed and understand that getting to and from their country involves many different methods of transport. It is best to mention early on in the meeting, if you have a strict timescale- but do it in a positive and relaxed way. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   Going to a pub after a meeting is common practice. Whilst accepting the generosity of your Irish hosts, it is important to ensure you take your turn and buy a round of drinks for your associates. Knowledge of some of the key Irish laws that are different from home is useful. For example, smoking is banned in all enclosed workplaces, including pubs and restaurants. The minutes of the meeting will be circulated after the meeting has concluded. Actions of what was agreed and who is responsible will be indicated on this document. In individual meetings, a record should be kept of what was discussed, and the dates items were agreed to be completed by. After your return and a short time has passed since your meeting, it is perfectly acceptable to telephone the people you met, especially if you want to confirm something, or maybe just double check the next meeting date or venue. The Irish appreciate a telephone call, and the opportunity to speak briefly with you before the next face to face meeting. Business  meals   Most Irish people look forward to discussing business in the informal environment of a restaurant. Generally, business lunches are more common than dinners. It is usually the Irish counterpart who offers to conduct a business meeting in this environment and who also recommends a suitable place to businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  18   go. However, considering the warm attitude of the Irish towards business meals, it is also possible for the visitor to invite Irish partners to a business lunch. In this case, it is advisable to make a preparatory inquiry at a local information centre as to where you can find a suitable restaurant for the business meeting. Business dinners are usually considered more of a social occasion and are particularly suitable to develop already existing social relationships. Both parties usually agree on whether spouses will be invited to such occasions. Ireland has an extensive network of traditional local pubs serving the Irish national drink – Guinness stout and Irish colleagues may opt for discussing business over a pint of Guinness in a cosy Irish pub. This is usually the place where the Irish are particularly outgoing and sociable. However, business is not normally conducted in this way until a later stage of a relationship when Irish pubs serve as a suitable place to deepen existing bonds . When invited out for a drink, bringing up the subject of business is not recommended, unless the host does so. Business  Meeting  tips   It is good practice to start a business meeting with an informal conversation about a general topic. This will help to “break the ice” and make the participants comfortable. Ensure you bring enough business cards and materials about your company. The ideal time for handing these out is at the beginning of the meeting. Do make direct eye-contact with your Irish business partner. However, this should be done with discretion in order to not be considered impolite or rude. Watch out for any signs of communication among your counterparts. The “secret messages” may be often transmitted via seemingly humorous remarks. When entering a building for the first time, the doorman, receptionist or PA are often the first people you may encounter. A “Good morning/afternoon” greeting and then an explanation of who you are there to see will suffice. You may be asked to wait a short while until the person you are seeing at the meeting becomes free, this time may be used to chat informally whilst waiting, the Irish tend to discuss fairly impartial subjects like the weather. The Irish appreciate friendliness and warmth in a person. Establishing a few facts about the town or city you will be meeting in will be appreciated by your hosts. If this is not possible then a positive comment about something on the way from the airport for example would be warmly appreciated. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  19   Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   Many universities in Ireland consider student placements to be an essential part of education and provides an opportunity to put theory into practice. Therefore, there are various services that help students to find internships or placements in Ireland. Placements in Ireland are mainly offered as unpaid training positions. However, most companies provide some allowance to help you to cover expenses such as travel costs. The key benefits highlighted by organisations are: gaining an understanding of a real work environment ; improving your English; understanding the local work ethic and increasing your cultural awareness; an opportunity to gain professional experience in your area of study as well as an entry into Ireland’s leading and successful organisations. Students must be prepared to fund their internship if they consider coming to Ireland and many are funded by the ERASMUS Mobility programme. Erasmus stands for the EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of UniversityStudents. Under this programme, students from the EU, EEA and Turkey enjoy the opportunity to spend between 3 and 12 months studying at one of Ireland’suniversities as part of their course. Erasmus is also able to support students who wish to spend periods of time on a work placement in Ireland. It requires a lot of patience and time to find information about student placements. Most of these are located in Dublin, although there are host companies across Ireland. There are offers of placement programmes in most sectors. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are many practical issues related to international placements that need to be considered either by the trainee or the host company. It must be remembered to reserve enough time for all the arrangements and the necessary formalities. Training organisations, educational institutions, home and host organisations will all be able to help with the formalities. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   A national from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland might be entitled to free emergency health care when visiting Ireland for a short time or on business. Make sure you take your EU health card or equivalent with you. There are also special reciprocal agreements between Ireland and other countries such as Australia which help citizens of both countries to benefit from free medial cover. However, travel health insurance is recommended, as well as accident insurance and liability insurance. Ireland has a number of private health insurance companies and one of the major ones is the Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI). The cost of actual care will depend on the treatment needed and some minor charges might apply. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  20   You might find that a valid health insurance is obligatory for a visa application. If you are working in Ireland for longer than 12 months, you can be classed as an “ordinary resident” and will therefore benefit from the same level of health care as any other resident. Safety   Generally, Ireland is a safe place to be. As everywhere, personal safety rules apply, be aware of your surroundings particularly at night and try to avoid unlit areas, especially if you are away from tourist areas. Keep away from public demonstrations if possible and do not display signs of affluence such as using the latest smart phone. Petty crimes such as bag snatching and pick pocketing are possible and you are advised not to carry valuables and large sums of cash. If you are using a car, make sure it is locked and parked in a secure location. On the larger scale, there is an underlying threat of terrorist activity. This has reduced over the decades, but attacks could be indiscriminate, and take place in popular places affecting foreign travellers. Beware of drink driving – heavy fines or even imprisonment can be the consequence if you are found over the drink driving limit. As in many other European countries, holding and using a mobile phone whilst driving is also banned. Do  I  need  a  visa?   Requirements for Visas in Ireland are similar to those of other European Countries and will depend on the country you are coming from – so you might need to get a Visa before you can work or study in Ireland. As a citizen of a country within the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you are able to enjoy free movement in other member states and in Ireland, so there are no special requirements in order to study. It is advisable to bring an acceptance letter with you from the school or university you are attending. It may also be necessary to show this at immigration when entering Ireland. Soon after arriving in Ireland you will be required to register with the immigration authorities if you are intending to stay for more than 90 days. For a national of a country outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland, you must establish whether you are required to obtain a visa well in advance of travelling to Ireland. The website of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade offers a list of countries whose citizens do not require visas. If you do need a visa, you will have to make an online application prior to arrival in Ireland. The online application process will create a reference number which you are advised to keep safe so that you can track your application progress online. Although Ireland is part of the European Union, it is not a member of the Schengen Area. This means that your Schengen visa or UK D visa are not acceptable for travel to Ireland, always check your visa requirements prior to making your travel plans, since these are regularly reviewed. Internship  and  placement  salary   Students coming from the EEA - European Economic Area – are able to work in Ireland whilst studying. Students from outside the EEA - who are undertaking a full time course of at least one year’s businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  21   duration leading to a qualification recognised by the Minister for Education and Science, are allowed to take up casual employment. Ireland has introduced the Minimum Wage Act 2000 setting a minimum rate per hour.. For example, from the 1st of July, 2011 the minimum wage was €8.65 per hour, and these figures are regularly updated so you are encouraged to enquire about the latest rates of pay. As with other countries, salary levels will differ depending on location, job role and your experience. Given that internships are mostly unpaid, there is a culture of paying an allowance of around €50 per week to cover travelling expenses (approximate average in 2012/2013). Internship  and  placement  accommodation   It is advisable to arrange accommodation before you come to Ireland. Hostels are generally the cheapest form of temporary accommodation; some “Bed and Breakfast” outlets also offer good rates. There is a good selection of rented accommodation which is available furnished or unfurnished. It is normal practice to take a deposit, which is likely to be up to one month’s rent. The internet is a good starting place to find your accommodation although you are encouraged to enquire from the organisation you are planning to work for, whether they have any recommendations. Due to the costs of accommodation, lodging and flat sharing are common in Ireland. Student accommodation or residences are also available and most universities will be able to advise you about these. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  22   Cost  of  Living     Students can refer to the recent figures for living and studying in Ireland, which include most of the usual student costs apart from tuition fees. The largest cost of living will be related to accommodation and this will depend on the choices made – whether you are sharing or living in a self contained flat. Inevitably, those living in Dublin will have higher living costs. These could vary and in 2012 ranged between EUR 8,000 and EUR 12,100 mainly due to the accommodation chosen. These estimates usually take into account things like rent, electricity bills, general food, books, laundry, basic medicine etc., but not tuition fees. In 2007, the cost of living in Ireland was amongst the most expensive across Europe. Although this has reduced somewhat since the economic slowdown in 2008, Ireland is still one of the costliest countries in Europe. According to the Mercer’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2008, Dublin was listed as the world’s 16th most expensive city to live in and Europe’s 8th. The latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer – 2011 – indicates that Dublin has now dropped to 58th position. To help prepare yourself consult the links below which list the approximate cost for basic necessities in Dublin. Money  and  Banking   The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro as its currency. As with many other European countries, foreign currency is generally not accepted, but there are some exceptions. Some of the larger stores in places popular with tourists are likely to accept some of the main foreign currencies such as US dollars and British Pound Sterling. Beware if you are paying with foreign currency though as the exchange rates will be worse when compared to paying in Euros. Major credit cards are accepted by large supermarkets, shops, hotels and restaurants. Occasionally, only cash payments are accepted by small retailers and cafés. Certain retailers may also reject credit cards for amounts of less than 10 Euros. However, you may find that Irish debit cards will often be accepted. Several discount supermarket chains, such as Aldi and Lidl will only accept debit cards (Irish Laser Cards, Maestro, Visa Debit and MasterCard). All banks have currency exchange desks for cashing travellers’cheques , exchanging cash, and obtaining advances on your credit card; they are usually open from 10-4 every day. One day per week, banks are open until 5pm – in Dublin this is on a Thursday. Some large department stores also provide foreign exchange services, but this service is no longer available at post offices. The general advice before travelling to Ireland is to ask your bank whether your Credit, Debit or ATM card is activated for usein both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some of the largest banks in Ireland include: Allied Irish Banks (AIB) AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB. AIB is one of the Big Four commercial banks in Ireland, and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  23   Traveling  costs   General travelling costs in Ireland are on the high side compared to other European countries. However, this will depend on the time of year and other factors, so it is always best to use the internet to research the available deals. As with other capital cities, Dublin is the most expensive for travelers. However, outside of the capital cheaper alternatives are available. Given the higher concentration of companies in and around Dublin it is a good place to start looking for placements and to ask companies you are talking to about travelling costs. There are 20 airports in Ireland and the 4 biggest are: Dublin; Cork Airport; Shannon Airport and Kerry County Airport. Trains are operated by Irish Rail – Iarnród Éireann. Ireland is connected with train lines in most of the cities around the island. The train is perhaps more expensive than the bus and there are fewer train stations than bus stops. There is a good provision of bus services owned by the State as well as private companies and they offer a comprehensive service across a range of routes. The main operator is Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE), a state owned company which operates the largest volume of services across Ireland. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  24   Work-­‐life  Balance     The issue of work-life balance in Ireland is twofold. Firstly, the Irish are a nation that traditionally values the institution of family. Loyalty to the company is often overshadowed by the importance of one’s family life. In many cases the company and family becomes interconnected, particularly in private family businesses. The Irish thus prefer working schemes that allow sufficient time to be spent with the family. They love their work but at the same time assert that they work to live and do not live to work. Recently, as a result of current fast-paced lifestyles, there has been a strong movement to improve work life balance. However, this has not been the case with many SMEs, where there has been a culture of working long hours to start up a business, and a similar level of commitment is expected of graduates and employees. In fact this can be an area of conflict amongst those who value a work-life balance and family time and those that expect an exceptional work commitment. The Irish like to think of themselves as a hard working country. Secondly, in Ireland, the issue of work-life balance is becoming increasingly important as is the case in all of Western Europe. It is estimated that within 10 years, one of the most significant issues on an employers’ agenda could be the work life balance, as the Irish workforce is changing. To provide an opportunity to retain the brightest and best of their employees, a number of employers are introducing policies that address work-life balance and help workers to successfully combine employment with their family life , as well as caring responsibilities and personal and social life outside the workplace. The main work-life balance policies are annual leave, maternity and paternity leave, flexible working hours, annualised hours, parental and carers’ leave, career breaks, term-timeworking, sabbaticals, exam and study leave. The advancement in technology, in particular has allowed for new ways of work-life balancing, such as the creation of virtual teams or working from home. Although a majority of work-life balance policies are not legally binding, it is to the employers’ advantage to introduce such schemes in order to retain a quality work force and prevent costly high staff turnover. National  holidays   Irish law provides full time employees with a minimum of 20 days annual leave. In practice, many companies allow additional holidays as part of their benefits package and the time when holiday is taken is usually at the employer’s discretion. Some employers adopt a “leave year” policy and employees have to take their holidays during a specified period of the year. Employees who work parttime are entitled to paid holidays of 6 hours for every 100 worked. As well as the annual holiday entitlement, there are at present 9 public holidays in Ireland. These are: 1st January: New Year’s Day; 17th March: Saint Patrick’s Day; Easter Monday; First Monday in May: Labour Day; First Monday in June: June Holiday; First Monday in August: August Holiday; Last Monday in October: October Holiday; 25th December: Christmas Day; 26th December: Saint Stephen’s Day. Employees who do not work over a Bank Holiday will still receive a full day’s pay. Those who do work are usually paid and also receive a paid day off in lieu. It is quite common for companies to pay employees extra when working on a Bank Holiday. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  25   Working  hours   In Ireland, the average working week must not exceed a maximum of 48 hours for many employees, in accordance with the European Working Time Directive. Employees are also entitled to a 15 minute break after 4 hour’s work and a further 15 minute break after a 6 hour work period. These breaks are unpaid. Offices are generally open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on Monday to Friday with a lunch break of one hour. It is still common for companies to close entirely for lunch between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and the phone will not be answered during this time. On weekends, offices are usually closed. Opening hours in retail are usually 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. during the week with slightly shorter hours on weekends. Banks open at 10.00 a.m. and close at 4.00 p.m. and on weekends they are usually closed. Opening hours of government offices are 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. during the week and on weekends they close. Health  insurance   Citizens of the European Union are eligible to receive the same level of health care as the citizens of Ireland. This does not mean that all medical care is provided free of charge, some minor charges do apply. Depending on an individual’s income, they can be eligible for an Irish medical card which entitles them to the full range of medical services at no cost. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •              |  26   Social  Media  Guide     Internet penetration in Ireland is very high and in 2012 was estimated to be about 80 %, with over 3,5 million internet users, according to Internet World Stats. In particular, use of the internet on smart phones is high. According to a study undertaken by Accenture, Irish Mobile users are much more likely to use the internet through their mobile devices than users in most other countries. Mobile devices such as phones, netbooks and tablets are used by over 77 % of Irish internet users, compared to a global average of 69%. The people of Ireland are amongst the heaviest users of Social Media websites in Europe, however according to some polls the numbers who use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not currently growing – and may even be in decline. However, the overwhelming trend is that more people use social networks than do not. Statistics at the beginning of 2013, suggest that the most popular social media website in Ireland is Facebook (53% have a Facebook account) followed by Twitter (15 %), LinkedIn (13%) and Google+ (also 13%). Facebook, with over 2 million Irish members has the highest usage of any social media site, with 50 per cent of users saying they log in daily. , The vast majority of people use Facebook to stay in touch with people they do not see daily, the second largest group of users are people who want to see friends’ photos, and the last group of about a third are interested in playing online games. On a more professional level, people in Ireland use LinkedIn to stay in touch with their networks, to browse jobs and to recruit staff. Irish recruitment is increasingly being carried out on Linkedin. Ireland currently does not have the skilled IT workforce to fill all available positions so in order to find foreign employees, employers are using LinkedIn to recruit. YouTube has over 1.3 million regular Irish users, which accounts for about 400 million average views per month, LinkedIn has about 600,000 Irish users and Twitter has nearly 200,000 with a third of users checking their accounts daily. Private  individuals   The Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey had difficulties collecting primary data using social media in Ireland. This in itself suggests that people are less likely to share data online when asked to participate in online surveys. Therefore, the main recommendations given here are based on secondary sources and the observations of the Passport to Trade advisors. As with other European social media users, significant variations in their preferences of social media exist amongst the different age groups. Over three quarters of adults (77%) in Ireland make use of the internet for personal purposes and there is almost a universal use of the internet from home. An overwhelming majority of those who use the internet for personal reasons , have a broadband connection (96%). DSL is the main type of internet connection used by those who subscribe to the internet privately. Nearly 3 in 10 people use a mobile internet connection, and 1 in 10 use cable or other wireless connection. businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  27     SMEs   The Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey of SMEs, had difficulties collecting primary data using social media, this was similar to the student survey. Secondary sources suggest that the use of social media for business purposes in Ireland is low given that two thirds of people who use social media do so to maintain contact with friends and family. Surveys show that using these platforms for business is not something that as yet is being embraced by most social media users. Not many Irish business websites have integrated social media share and action buttons on their main websites to encourage social media engagement with their consumers. Candidate manager, the e-recruitment software solutions firm, conducted a survey which showed that up to 14% of people surveyed use social media sites to search for talent. Of those who use online options, LinkedIn was the most popular network at 92% while 43% use Facebook and 32% use Twitter. The research also indicated that more companies now create a company page on Facebook (77%) than on LinkedIn (66%). More than 90% of Irish non-profit organisations use social media, according to survey. The SME & Corporate ICT research H1 2010 report indicated that in general, 92% of Irish businesses have internet access. There has been a small decrease in access among SMEs recently. The research also shows that Internet access is lowest among retail businesses and the hotels and restaurant sectors. Search  and  Social  Media  Marketing  for  International  Business   Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics: How to develop a personal brand online (1/12) • • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference. Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=l9LYw0mgtn4&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  28     How to use Twitter (2/12) • • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile. Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far! http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9CVY3pp91Dc&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12) • • Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services. These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zw27cRcwtM0&feature=player _embedded How to use social media for international business development (4/12) • • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with? Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Bx-B56AHS4c&feature= player_embedded businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  29     How to use Facebook (5/12) • • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual. Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UmRGn-vdcO8&feature= player_embedded How to use YouTube (6/12) • • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project. Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=G2 0OVpmTBss How to use LinkedIn (7/12) • • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries. Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=N6e_EAUQqic&feature=playe r_embedded businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  30     How to use Google+ (8/12) • • • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013. It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine. Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=8ti 3SPHkEWw How to use copywriting online (9/12) • • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text. Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5f1hx_f2ONI&feature=player_ embedded How to stay legal on social media (10/12) • • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access. Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eQxDpiHsdk&feature=player_embedde d businessculture.org     Content  Ireland  
    •            |  31     How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12) • • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online. How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LbEq7jsG0jg&feature=player_ embedded How to blog (12/12) • • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=OqVjR7oI8Rs&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org     • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms. Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC. Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag. Content  Ireland  
    •              |  32   Passport  to  Trade  2.0  Project  Partnership   Five Universities: Lead partner: Salford Business School, University of Salford, United Kingdom Elena Vasilieva Aleksej Heinze Alex Fenton URENIO research unit at Aristole University of Thessaloniki, Greece Christina Kakderi Nitsa Papadopouloui TSE Entre Research Centre Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland Satu Aaltonen Elisa Akola Institute for Information System Research University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany Verena Hausmann Susan P. Williams Petra Schubert Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania Adriana Grigorescu Leonardo Badea Three Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Spin, Italy Carmine Antonio Donato Dorella De Tommaso Technology Development & Innovation – TDI LTD Bulgaria Milanka Slavova Ivan Stoychev TIS Praha, Czech Republic Anna Klosova Richard Adekeye businessculture.org     Content  Ireland