Interesting Business Customs of Different Countries
- Author: Priyanka Published: 24th Feb, 2021
What are business customs? In simple language, a code of behaviour for all your social interactions when you’re in an office setup or in-between your office colleagues and clients. Since this behaviour is so overly dependent on the culture of the place, it will change geographically and especially country-wise. It’s always good to be acquainted with different cultures and respectfully abide by them when you’re in a foreign country. With more and more organisations beginning to depend on employees equipped to handle multi-culturalism, it only makes sense to learn them in the long run. A simple line in your resume about it might someday lead them to differentiate you from the crowd, hand you a better job in a country of your choice. Continue reading to find some of these interesting business customs around the world:
This one takes effort. You’ll find yourself in a lot of unchartered territories. South Koreans take business deal meetings to a new level. This is not to intimidate you, but a lot of times, you’ll find your business meetings take you to a karaoke bar (Noeraebang), and your sense of engagement and commitment is judged by how involved you are within that tight group.
If you don’t like small talk and need all your conversations to be ‘about that point’, this is for you. Germans like their conversations short, and their meetings blunt. Stray away from humour at all costs, and you’ll be good to go.
Want to climb the business ladder in China? You better prepare a gift. Showing up to a business meeting without one is a complete no-no. But here’s the catch: you have to be persistent. The custom is to refuse the gift at least three times before accepting it. Also, make sure you ‘prepare your face’. In other words, the success of your meeting is determined by how well-prepared you are and how well you handle or please your clients and maintain your reputation.
Introverts and germaphobes beware!! Expect a total invasion of privacy here. Talking while standing very close to each other and more-than-usual physical contact is part of the custom here. Also, while talking to your client, try using expressions like “como va” (how is it going), “muito prazer” (pleasure to meet you ), and “tudo bem” ( a pleasing way to say ‘okay’) and try to maintain eye contact. They are believed to strengthen bonds.
If you’re looking to build a network here, go local. Learn the traditional way of greeting each other: wai. It is much similar to the Indian way of doing ‘Namaste’, but the prayer position of your hands doesn’t need to go much lower than your neck. The greeting is generally performed by the younger person, while the elder person only responds. Apart from this, make sure to take a business card to the meeting. In many Asian cultures, business cards are seen as an extension of the person and are an important asset to carry to a meeting.
They appreciate good timekeepers and good ‘air kissers’. As a community that doesn’t dwell much on class-consciousness, it is alright not to wear something way too uptight and expensive, but make sure to put on something with dark colours, so you look professional. If you’re in Belgium long enough to make good acquaintances, gifting them chocolates or wine when you meet is not unusual.