Business etiquette in western countries is can be seen as confident yet so laid back that some people deem it poor mannered. Any kinks are easy to overlooked or forgiven by using the excuse of being “not from around here”.
Manners are different in every country. What is proper in the US or UK, may not be acceptable in China. Here are the five tips for doing business in Asia Pacific:
Tip #1: Saving face
Many Asians are introvert and do not like standing out in public but can be bold and direct in one-on-one situations. Most Asians would rather not risk the public humiliation. It is important not to put them on the spot.
Tip #2: Business cards
In Asia, exchanging business cards is essential when doing business. It is also showing respect to the other person. Present the card with both hands and reciprocate by accepting with both hands and looking at it for a couple of seconds before putting it on the table in front of you if you are sitting down for a meeting.
Tip #3: Do not be a know-it-all
While brainstorming is normal in western countries, hierarchy is vital and observed in Asia. Only when there is an established and trusted working relationship that one can voice his or her opinion. Trying to be a know-it-all may come across as rude.
Tip #4: Watch the quiet ones
Do not dismiss anyone in the room. Sometimes, the quietest person is the most influential or the most creative. As they say, silent water runs deep.
Tip #5: Product features are important
When it comes to products, westerners are all about the experience. They buy products that fit their taste and offer the best consumer experience. Asians care whether they have the best because they like to think that they have something better than everyone else so pay attention to features and specifications.