Culture of Business Travelers in Asia

When you’re heading out for your business trip to Asia, you’re stepping into a new world with different cultures and different expectations. The culture in Asia is different from place to place, and often time’s different things are perceived differently in Asian culture. With such a vast culture, you may feel lost or out of place unless you take some time to learn a little about the business culture.

Put Your Input into Meetings

In cultures such as the United States, or Canada, people are considered responsible for their own decisions. Any decisions to do one thing or another are decided individually, and it is seen as negative to ask for the input of others. In China though the opposite is true. There may be CEO’s and other business leaders making decisions, but they will always ask for a consensus from a group of people. There are many meetings or negotiations that end up leading the business to a final decision, be prepared to put your input into these meetings when asked.

Be Flexible and Prepared for Multitasking

A frustrating experience may come if you don’t understand how people in Asia do tasks and manage time. Most of the time they multitask unlike in Canada or the United States where tasks are done one at a time. In Asia, this means that schedules are not set in stone and can change at the drop of a hat.

Authority in the United States and Canada is solid, business owners make the decisions, but in Asia business, owners use their station to guide people in what they believe is the right direction. You should also try to avoid using numbers unless you must, and you may need to research what numbers mean in the culture you’re involved in. Some people will refuse to work with you if certain numbers depict negative outcomes.

Use the Correct Form of Address

Don’t use the first name to address people until they offer it to you. You can use the formal title “Mr.“ or “Mrs.“. There are some cultural characteristics in some countries such as Thailand where “Khun“ is used instead of “Mister“. In Myanmar it’s customary and politely to address people by their complete name.

Both of your hands should be used to exchange cards with business partners. And take into account, that’s important to keep business cards save. Don’t note anything on them – otherwise you may insult your business partner. Business cards should also be written in English as well as in the language of the country you visit.

Be Respectful and Don’t Come Too Late

To show your respect, it’s necessary to be punctual and don’t plan too less time between two business meeting because they can take longer than expected. It is also important to watch your behavior and look. When you’re in a meeting and talking to someone, always wear a business suit, don ‘t put your hands in your pockets, pay attention to your feet position – it may be rude to point them directly on someone – and don’t touch people ‘s head. You have also be prepared to take off your shows in some places, so wear suitable socks.

Be Able to Move from One Culture’s Norms to The Others

Some cultural changes may seem drastic or shocking, but they simply are the norm in many cultures in Asia. Understanding and being able to fluidly move from one culture’s norms to the others makes you a better business person, allowing you to make considerable progress toward positive goals.

With these possible differences in mind note that there are many more changes that you’ll have to be considerate of. The most important thing is that you’re prepared and manage to keep from offending the people you’re conversing with. Your business partners in Asia will have different customs that may confuse you or even cause you discomfort, but know that these practices and ways are normal for them. Adhering to their customs ensures that they are comfortable with you and your propositions. Ensure that you research the culture of the country and peoples that you’re going to be visiting.