Three Important Elements of Asian Business Etiquette

Stephen M. Timms is the vice president of strategic programs for the International Golden Group (IGG), a strategic defense company located in Abu Dhabi. Previous to his employment with IGG, Stephen M. Timms lived and worked in the Asia-Pacific region. Awareness of certain business etiquette rules can help foreign professionals working in Asia maintain politeness and make a good impression on local business leaders.

Accepting business cards: Business people in Asian countries consider the exchange of business cards an opportunity to show respect. A business card should always be presented with two hands. If you are the recipient of a business card, it is important to give the card several seconds of inspection before putting it in your wallet or card holder. Taking a business card and storing it away without examining it first is considered poor manners.

Punctuality: Being late to a business appointment is a serious sign of disrespect throughout Asian countries. Foreigners who do business in Asia should always plan ahead to give themselves more time than they think is necessary to arrive punctually for a meeting.

Professional demeanor: Business executives across the Asian continent are known for their composure, and do not indulge in visible anger or contentious actions. Many businesspeople of Asia place a high value on respecting others, even those with whom they disagree. Avoid raising your voice, using excessive hand gestures, or expressing discontent in an undiplomatic way.

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