It can be a frustrating experience for western businesses to have business meeting with Chinese counterparts because of the prominent difference in western and eastern culture. The western approach is much more direct while the eastern is almost the opposite way. It can easily lead to failure in reaching the desired agreement if not attaching enough importance to perspective and patience. |
Business negotiations in the west usually adopt a much straight forward approach. Each party is trying hard to reach the aims in the shortest time via a direct way. However, negotiating in China needs more input of patience. Usually the first business meeting in China is meant for knowing establishing mutual trust, and it usually has nothing to do with business. Personal relationship is a key aspect of successful business in China and sometimes business deals are reached as per status of the personal relationship.
As to the final decision making, it is usually up to the seniors at the top of the enterprise. Usually, the decision maker would not take part in the business meeting, and the proposals or details would return to the decision marker to be discussed at private meetings by the Chinese sides. After that, the results would be returned to the business meeting later. That's the reason why most Chinese would say "We will consider it" or "We have to talk to the boss" in the meeting.
Following are some vital mistakes that you should avoid during the business meeting in China.
1. Don't question your Chinese attendants in public and make them lose "face".
2. Don't call their first name without giving permission to. It is better to address a person by his designation and family name. For instance, if you are having business meeting with a president named Liu Neng, it is better to address him as President Liu.
3. Don't hand out your business card or receive others' with one hand. It is regarded as polite to use both hands with a smile.
4. Don't place your chopsticks, pen or other sharp objects at anyone or in front of anyone.
5. Don't use large body movements or point to others when speaking.
6. Don't be angry if the Chinese counterparts ask about your age, marriage status, income, etc as it is very common here.
7. Don't regard the term "yes" as affirmative in all cases. Sometimes the Chinese say "yes" or nod to show that they are concentrated.
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