Meeting Etiquette across Asian Countries You Should Know

March 25, 201912:11 pm
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Etiquette in business comes in a variety of forms – from your choice of attire to how you behave in a meeting environment.”

– Workspace

Doing business in Asian countries is quite challenging, especially when it comes to building professional relationship. You have to deal with different cultures and etiquette in accordance to the country you are visiting. If you are a founder of newly-built startup in one of Asian countries, meeting many people within your industry is vital. However, your meeting might not run well or even go pear-shaped if you don’t know how to handle important meetings with experts coming from different places across Asia.

Likewise, business meeting is the biggest fundamentals in a corporation. The meeting might vary depending on the nature, purpose, and content, but it remains intrinsic to all business communications. Besides, any informal and formal business setting you attend should adhere to common rules of etiquette. Understanding etiquette gives you best chance of a positive result and prospect of second meeting. Here are etiquette you should know when conducting business meeting in a few regions across Asia.

See also: A Must-Try Icebreaker Ideas for Your Next Meeting

Thailand

  • When addressing people’s name, make sure to precede by word ‘Khun’. Yet, addressing people of importance such as monks, first name should be preceded with ‘Ajarn’. In a very formal occasions or written documentation, surname are reversed.
  • Thais appreciate it if you greet them with traditional ‘Thai Wai’, a gesture made by pressing palms of your hands together.
  • Thais consider feet to be unclean. Avoid pointing your feet at a person. Keep soles of your feet facing down.
  • Do not disrespect their king or royal family. It means that any object related to king’s image should be treated respectfully.

India

  • In India, it is more polite to address senior people by age or position with sir, madam, or adding Mr./Mrs. To their last name.
  • It is improper to gift items of personal nature. Instead, gift a household item or something for the kids. (If you are meeting in a personally)
  • When you are invited to your client’s house, refrain from shaking hands with women. You can press your palms in a simple Namaste, instead. However, shaking hands is perfectly acceptable but it depends on the women. Usually, Indian women do not offer their hands for shaking. Also, do not hug men or kiss women on cheek.
  • Indian people love it when foreigners try to speak their language or appreciate their local food. So, learning a few words of local language and use it during your conversation will add a plus point to your meeting. And remember that, Hindus do not eat beef and Muslims do not eat pork.
  • Feet are considered unclean. So, avoid pointing your shoes at someone. Apologies if your shoes or feet accidentally touch another person.

Indonesia

  • Indonesians place high regard on rank and status. You should greet the most senior person first, either by age or position. And address people by their full titles.
  • Meetings might not start immediately as time schedule hour, but you should not come late and you need to apologize if you do.
  • If you are given a gift, refuse it verbally to show that you are not greedy.
  •  Always use right hands for handshakes, offering, eating, or receiving something.

Japan

  • Bowing is a polite greeting in Japan. You can also find Japanese people shaking hands.
  • When addressing people, use suffix ‘san’ to their last name as a sign of respect.
  • When you accept a business card, receive it with both hands. Look at it and make a positive comment about it.
  • During a business lunch or dinner, do not pour drink for yourself. Let someone do it and you do the same for them.
  • Make sure the gift you take for your host is gift-wrapped. Also, if you receive a gift, do not immediately open them. Save it for later.
  • Tipping is not expected and rarely done in Japan.

China

  • Chinese think carefully and take time for deciding something. Therefore, do not expect a quick conclusion.
  • In a meeting or presentation, always use an open palm to ask or pointing at something.
  • Chinese do not use much hand movements, so you better avoid large hand movements.
  • Exercise great caution while business gifting. It is best to avoid clocks, handkerchiefs, or something in white, blue, or black. They usually associate these things with death.

Those are some insight of etiquette you should learn when doing a business across Asian countries. You can find more etiquette to learn in Commisceo-Global.

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