Improve Your Business Etiquette Skills with Asians. It’s certainly not a good idea to think that Western ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving are universal. Instead, by being culturally aware and knowing how to build trust and inspire respect, the global-thinking business people can create enduring business relationships in Asia. To thrive in the many and diverse, emerging Asian markets, a deeper understanding of cultural differences and familiarity with unique business cultures and systems are essential for success. In general, Asian hosts are very hospitable. They treat visitors well, often providing costly meals or entertainment. Though they may appear eager to please, you should not interpret their hospitality in Western cultural terms. Rolling out the red carpet does not necessarily mean that you have a close relationship

Improve Your Business Etiquette

Improve Your Business Etiquette Skills. Don’t leave your Asian business relationships to chance or fate. Use these following concepts and tips to help improve your business etiquette. Know how Asian people make decisions. In the Western individualist cultures, people consider themselves individually responsible when making decisions and deals. Conversely, people in collectivist cultures, which are common in Asia, prefer group representation in meetings and negotiations. In China and Singapore, some will avoid making decisions without group input. Know the power of authority. In “social-status” cultures, where characteristics such as class, age, gender, and higher education are considered more important than achievement, power often is held over people. But in Asia, many countries consider power to be participative. Even higher-ups can only use their authority to guide, not direct, people in gaining consensus on decisions.

Business Etiquette and Asian Rules

Know how people view rules and relationships. In the West, written rules are sacrosanct; a contract is a relationship. Not so in most Asian cultures, where people see the world holistically or composed of completely interdependent relationships. Know how people regard time. In Western cultures mainly people do one thing at a time. In Asian cultures, people typically multitask. Consequently, interruptions are routine, agendas dispensable, and schedules subject to change. Know if people communicate directly or indirectly. In Western countries people are direct communicators, placing emphasis on their words. In business meetings, participants are expected to get to the point and move on. In Asian cultures, communication is indirect. Words can only be understood within the context of the speaker’s body language and facial expressions.

Know how formal or informal people tend to be. As one business professor has said, tight Asian cultures have deep-seated social norms, showing little tolerance for nonconformist behaviors. Looser Western cultures tolerate informalities. Where hierarchy is highly valued, it is important to match the formality, rank, and status of an Asian counterpart in business negotiations. Know how much of the workday people actually spend on work. Well-Known Asian business researchers found that Western employees spent 80 percent of their workplace time on work-related tasks, and 20 percent on social activities. In Asian countries the split was 50/50, underscoring the importance of relationships in group-based cultures.

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