Latvian way of life and mentality is similar to people in Denmark.
The Latvians are a peaceful and not very assertive people. The tone is informal compared to many other countries. Friends, family and colleagues are addressed with the informal pronoun and their first name, and it is common for employees to address their boss by his or her first name. The informal tone is also encountered in the educational system, where the students address the teachers by their first names. They are open people.
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On the personal level, foreigners will generally experience the Latvians as tolerant, helpful and open. Foreigners are often met with interested questions about their own country and culture from colleagues and acquaintances. However, many Latvians will not initiate conversations about cultural or personal topics before they know their foreign colleague well.
Meetings are expected to commence at the agreed time, and will normally start and end with a handshake. Meetings constitute an important part of Latvian business culture, and are the most usual way of keeping colleagues and employees up to date. Latvians prefer meetings to be short, well structured and with a preponderance of factual information. Paperwork will generally be kept at a minimum. However, it is seen as a matter of course that meetings proceed according to a written agenda and that they result in a written summary recording the most important decisions and agreements.
The informal attitude of the Latvians is expressed in a generally relaxed dress code. While many men prefer a suit and tie, it is not uncommon to see businessmen in more casual clothing, especially when meeting contacts they already know. Women also dress relatively casually.
Latvians usually introduce themselves with both their first name and surname, but after this they address each other by their first names. It is rare to bring gifts to business meetings, but when you are invited to someone’s private home, you should bring flowers or a couple of bottles of red wine.
Most Latvian companies involve their employees in the decision-making process. This results in a democratic and open working environment with short channels of command from the management to the common employee.
Behaviour in schools
For an impression how to behave in Latvian schools, if you click on the following webpage, you will find a „rules of procedures":