Posts tagged with conversation guidelines for saudi arabia

My Article ‘Business and Travel Tips for Saudi Arabia’ Is on About.com!

Posted on April 16, 2016 by Leave a comment

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the Saudi 2case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Saudi Arabia is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Saudi Arabia, tips for communicating in Saudi Arabia, and strategies for doing business with Saudi Arabia help with understanding the culture in Saudi Arabia. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Saudi Arabia and tips for intercultural communication!

Article Link:

http://businesstravel.about.com/od/resources/fl/Cultural-Tips-for-Doing-Business-in-the-Peru.htm

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton 

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Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: Communication Guidelines for SAUDI ARABIA

Posted on April 5, 2015 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: SAUDI ARABIA Saudi Arabia

 

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for Saudi Arabia is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Saudi Arabia, tips for communicating in Saudi Arabia, and strategies for doing business with Saudi Arabia to help with understanding the culture in Saudi Arabia. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this article and of the bestselling book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Education, and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle to be a conference speaker for your events! She is a cross cultural expert that will entertain and inspire audiences of all sizes with her fresh, unique, and humorous approach to cross-cultural communication and social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland.

The Saudi work week runs from Saturday through Wednesday. Most people do not work on Thursday, and there is no business conducted on Friday – the Muslim holy day.

Because there are several styles of greetings used in Saudi Arabia, it’s best to wait for your Saudi counterpart to initiate the greeting. Westernized Saudi men usually shake hands with other men, and some Saudi men will shake hands with Western women.

Saudis tend to stand and sit much closer together than western cultures. When interacting, there is also more physical contact and usually some gestures of touching. Saudi men often walk hand in hand, so if a Saudi holds your hand accept this gesture of friendship.

In the West status is earned through achievement, however in the Arab world status is determined by class.

The pace of business is slower in Saudi Arabia than in the West, so patience is essential. Business meetings start slowly, and there will be initial questions and small talk to create rapport.

Most Western countries have tried to promote equality between men and women. However, Arabic countries believe that the two sexes are completely different entities. Public life is the exclusive domain of Saudi men, and Saudi women don’t usually participate in the mainstream business world.

For female business travelers, the limitations on permissible behavior are highly regulated. Even if granted a visa, conducting business can be quite challenging for a woman. While they will be accepted without veils, they must dress very conservatively.

Eye contact is extremely important when speaking to Saudis. It’s advisable to remove your sunglasses and look people directly in the eye.

Saudis will expect you to be sincere, honest, and respectful in all your business dealings. “Saving face” and avoiding shame are very importance, so you may have to compromise on something to protect someone’s dignity. It’s always best to offer praise rather than criticism

In the Saud culture, the individual is always subordinate to the group, and the family is considered the most important social unit.

In the West, there is a belief in the separation between Church and state. In Saudi Arabia religion has a profound influence on politics, social behavior, and business.

Saudis tend to be unreceptive to outside information that is incompatible with Islamic values, so learn something about the basic tenets of Islam. Their faith in Islamic ideologies shapes their perceptions of the truth. There is a prevailing belief that solutions to problems can be found in the correct interpretation and application of divine law.

In the Saudi culture conversations are enthusiastic, and it is normal to speak in a rather aggressive manner to make a point. Speaking loudly, rising the pitch and tone, or even shouting can be perceived as signs of sincerity. If you appear distant, reserved, quiet, or shy, it could make the Saudis think something is wrong.

Business is conducted in a personal manner, and it’s important to pay close attention to all family members that you are introduced to. Show an interest in the health and happiness of brothers, uncles, cousins, and sons. However, don’t inquire about or mention the female members of the family.

There is a tendency among Saudis to use euphemisms to downplay unpleasant facts or to harmlessly embellish the truth. They may be reluctant to give you bad news about business, so keep this in mind if all of the feedback you receive seems unusually positive.

Often immediate feelings, rather than empirical evidence, are key influences in thinking and decisions. Saudis are brought up to be associative thinkers, however many complete their higher education in the U.K. or the U.S. so they have adapted to thinking conceptually and analytically.

It’s important to dress well, extend and receive favors, show respect for elders, and be accommodating in business.

Appointments are rarely private occasions, so interruptions from phone calls and visits from your contact’s friends and family are to be expected.

When negotiating, Saudis frequently use personalized arguments, appeals, and insistent persuasion, so they will expect a similar approach from you.

The male leader is the key decision-maker, however he usually won’t precede until he has the consensus of the group. Leadership and identity arise from one’s lineage and ability to protect the honor of the extended family.

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Tips

  • Family is a good t topic of conversation, however don’t inquire about female members unless they bring it up first
  • Sports, especially soccer (known as “football”), horse and camel racing, hunting and falconry – although keep in mind that all betting is illegal
  • Praise the Saudi landmarks, cuisine, dress, and all aspects of the country that you find appealing
  • The unique and historic architecture of the Saudi culture
  • Periodically ask about the health and happiness of family brothers, uncles, cousins, and sons

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Taboos

  • Politics, Israel, illness, accidents, death, or bad luck of any kind
  • Anything that could cause embarrassment or ‘loss of face’
  • The left hand is considered unclean in the Arabic culture, so always use the right hand when touching, eating, or gesturing
  • While sitting keep both feet on the ground, don’t cross your legs, and avoid showing the bottom of your foot which is considered very offensive
  • Although Saudis gesture with their hands while speaking, pointing or using the thumbs-up gesture is considered rude

Bon Voyage! 

Join us in the future for SCOTLAND!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SAUDI ARABIA

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SCOTLAND

Article archives for what you’ve missed! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos

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Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for JORDAN

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: JORDAN Jordan

The article series ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos’ is a brief synopsis of conversation guidelines, tips for successful communication, and some strategies for business that will help increase your understanding of different cultures. Keep in mind that we are homogenizing as a “global culture”, and as we change and evolve these cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step!

Being on time for appointments is one thing that Jordanians admire in westerners, so it is helpful for you to do so. However, it is typical of Jordanians to be around a half hour late.

During the month of Ramadan, business hours are shortened and work ends about two or three in the afternoon.

Jordanians normally mix personal conversation with business. A little personal conversation will help with rapport and relationship building.

A loud voice may be considered domineering so don’t speak overly loud. Jordanians can be emotional in their conversation so show some emotion, just don’t raise your voice too much when you do.

It is quite normal to talk about money, wages, how and how much you pay for things, or how old you are. However, it is considered impolite to discuss your relationship with your spouse.

Compliment giving is like entertainment, a source of pride, and done with good sportsmanship. Giving compliments is an important part of relationship building.

Avoid all derogatory humor, even with friends. Personal put-downs, criticism and sarcasm are not well accepted.

Avoid making comments on current political events. The perspectives of the east and the west can be very divisive.

Honor is very important in the Jordanian culture. Questioning the honor of someone is a sure way to destroy the relationship.

Lots of titles are used in Jordan. Social standing is based on the level of education, age, military rank, tribal position, and political office.

Negotiating a deal is one of the things Jordanians love most. It is like a sport and they thoroughly enjoy it, so have fun with it! One of their mottos is, “Everything is always negotiable”.

Your first meeting should start with full introductions and the exchange of business cards. Every other meeting should also include formal greetings. This is an important part of relationship building and the foundation of business.

Business moves at different speeds, it can be quite slow or move quickly depending on the situation. Excessive stalling is a polite way of saying that there is no interest in continuing the business discussion.

Jordanians stand closer than most westerners are used to, so stand about half the distance apart as you typically would in western cultures.

Patting or holding the arm or shoulder can be a sign of affection, acceptance, or an offer of assistance.

Holding hands indicates emotional attachment and is appropriate among good friends or relatives of the same sex.

5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation

  • Sincere personal compliments
  • Praising the Jordanian hospitality
  • Social conversation on topics of mutual interest and vision
  • History, language, culture, art, music
  • Sports, especially soccer which they call ‘football’

5 Keys Topics to Avoid in Conversation

  • Current events and politics
  • Religious preferences
  • Eastern versus western philosophies
  • Anything that negatively affects personal honor and pride
  • Criticism of any type

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for MALAYSIA!

To learn more about the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East order my book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ from AMAZON! 

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the Article Archive ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for countries you may have missed!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom/Media/Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on: My blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for JORDAN

Coming on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SCOTLAND

Article archive for what you missed! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton, for your next meeting or conference to help you or your company become more successful in today’s global business marketplace. Gayle is the author of the bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’ and President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. Her vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire audiences of any size with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications and social business etiquette! Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland as a distinguished professional keynote speaker.

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My Interview on About.com for ‘Tips on Doing Business in India’ is posted!

Posted on February 1, 2014 by Leave a comment

ABOUT.COM: ‘Cultural Tips’ for Doing Business in INDIAIndia

My interview on cross-cultural business and travel tips for India is featured on About.com at the following links:

Interview Links:

Business Travel Tips for India

http://businesstravel.about.com/od/resources/fl/Business-Travel-Tips-for-India.htm

To learn more about the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, order my book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ from Amazon!

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The Cross of Cross-Cultural

 

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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Read My Interview in the Wall Street Journal on Asian /US Business Risk

Posted on January 26, 2014 by Leave a comment

The Morning Risk Report: How Asian Management Culture Affects RiskSouth Korea Pic

By Ben DiPietro

A report this week of more than two dozen executives in South Korea offering to resign in the wake of a data breach that could put the personal information of more than 100 million cardholders at risk points to a difference in eastern and western business cultures—as there have been no offers of mass resignations following the Target Corp. breach that exposed information of 110 million cardholders.

Both David Clive Price, an expert on Asian business culture, and Gayle Cotton, an author and president of the corporate training company Circles of Excellence, say the differences in culture are based on the importance Asian nations place on the team over the individual and on saving face, or “preserving the surface of things,” as Mr. Price put it.  “The result is that ‘shame’ in the sense of an executive falling on his or her sword is felt more acutely, and more as a gesture to the collective spirit than in the West,” he said. “Also, many Asia companies are family-owned and –run with less attention paid to shareholders. So there is a complete set of comparatively different values and priorities at work.”

Ms. Cotton said the Asian way of doing things is not necessarily better than the western way, and can lead to problems if an entire team of executives resigns and leaves the company without the experience and knowledge to handle and move on from a crisis. It also may lead to executives trying to keep problems hidden to avoid the shame they will bring on the team and the company if they are made public. “I wouldn’t say they are necessarily any more responsible than we are, they just relate to that responsibility differently,” she said. “Here we are eager we take responsibility and the risk that comes with that responsibility. But we take it in stride, it’s part of the job: you win some, you lose some. There, it’s not that way…the way they look at failure prohibits them from being able to do that. You need to win and you need to win fairly and you need to protect the team you’re winning with, that will give the entire organization face.”

If you have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal you can read more there!

To learn more about the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, order my book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ from Amazon!

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The Cross of Cross-Cultural

 

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Culural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere’ Is in Amazon’s ‘New Year, New You 2014’!

Posted on January 19, 2014 by Leave a comment

What are you doing to enhance your personal and career development in 2014? Book Cover-WSJ-9781118620168_cotton

Amazon is currently featuring my book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ in their online marketplace,  ‘New Year, New You 2014’!

Check it out on Amazon at the following link: A New Year, New You in 2014!’ SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!’

“This is a perfect cross-cultural communication tool for anyone who does business globally. Gayle uses interesting and amusing examples to illustrate the hows and whys of effectively sharing messages with someone from another culture. Her naturally friendly writing style addresses delicate issues in a graceful way. Read this book and you’ll be ready to Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!”

– Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Great Leaders Grow

“This is an excellent guide to being more effective and comfortable with different people from different cultures – essential for anyone who travels to other countries.”

– Brian Tracy, Author – The 10 Disciplines of Exceptional Leadership

Read More Endorsements!

 

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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Read My Interview by the Epoch Times on ‘Shen Yun’ and the Arts in China

Posted on January 12, 2014 by Leave a comment

The Epoch Times: Interview on Shen Yun and the Chinese ArtsShen Yun-3

Shen Yun http://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/ brings to the Broadway stage the traditional Arts that span 5000 years of Chinese history and Dynasties. Many of these Arts have been lost over the past 60 years of Communist rule. The young woman that interviewed me spent 3 months in prison at the age of 20 for practicing her family’s religion ‘Falun Dafa’ http://en.falundafa.org/. You can read my interview on Shen Yun and the Arts in China at the following links:

Interview LinkShen Yun-GC-ED-1-14jpg

 

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/433247-emmy-award-winning-speaker-gayle-cotton-shen-yun-a-wonderful-experience/

 

To learn more about the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, order my book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ from Amazon! 

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The Cross of Cross-Cultural

 

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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My Interview on About.com with Tips on Doing Business in Hong Kong is posted!

Posted on January 5, 2014 by Leave a comment

ABOUT.COM: ‘Cultural Tips’ for Doing Business in Hong Kong Honk Kong

My interview on cross-cultural business and travel tips for Hong Kong is featured on About.com at the following links:

Interview Links:

http://businesstravel.about.com/od/resources/fl/Business-Travel-Tips-for-Hong-Kong.htm

For more information on doing business in Hong Kong or other places around the world, read my bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

 

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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My Interview on About.com with Tips on Doing Business in France is posted!

Posted on December 15, 2013 by Leave a comment

ABOUT.COM: ‘Cultural Tips’ for Doing Business in FRANCE France-2

My interview on cross-cultural business and travel tips for France is featured on About.com at the following links:

Interview Links:

http://businesstravel.about.com/od/resources/fl/Business-Travel-Tips-for-France.htm

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos on SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles ArchiveCultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

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Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for JAPAN

Posted on December 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: JAPAN Japan

 

Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos is a brief synopsis of the conversation guidelines for Japan, along with some tips for communicating in Japan, and strategies for doing business in Japan that will help increase your understanding of the Japanese culture. Keep in mind that we are homogenizing as a ‘global culture’ and, as many cultures change and evolve, these cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step!

Punctuality is necessary when doing business in Japan because the Japanese believe it is rude to be late.

Business cards (“meishi”) are an important part of doing business in Japan and key for establishing credentials. It’s preferable to have one side of your card printed in English and the reverse in Japanese.

It is traditional to present your card with the Japanese side facing up, held with both hands between the thumbs and the forefingers. This may be accompanied by a slight bow, which is usually lower based on the age and hierarchy of the person receiving the card. However, don’t be surprised if your Japanese counterpart greets you with a westernized business card exchange!

The Japanese will usually shake hands with Westerners as a way of making them feel comfortable. In turn, it’s helpful for Westerners to bow slightly to demonstrate that they are also taking the initiative to learn some Japanese customs. This simple gesture can do a lot to help a businessperson in establishing rapport with a potential Japanese client.

When receiving a business card, carefully examine it and make an interesting remark about the person’s title or occupation. Then place it on a nearby table during a meeting or in your card case if not meeting at that time. Stuffing it into a pocket is considered disrespectful. Writing on a business card is also inappropriate.

The bow is an important part of Japanese business protocol. Bows are used for expressing appreciation, making apologies and requests, as well as for greetings and farewells. Bows convey both respect and humility.

The depth of the bow depends on the recipient’s rank and status. When bowing to an individual who is of higher status than you, bow a little lower than that person to display deference. Do the same if you are uncertain of the status of the person that you are facing. With a person of your equivalent status, bow at the same height.

Maintaining “correct” relationships between people, and maintaining harmony within groups and teams is considered to be very important.

Be especially respectful to your older Japanese counterparts–age equals rank in the Japanese business culture. When you start speaking, it is polite to direct your first remarks to the most senior member, and then to appropriate individuals.

You may be asked some personal questions regarding your salary, education, and family life. If you don’t want to answer, remain polite and gracefully side step the question.

Be careful when asking the Japanese certain questions. If the response is “maybe”, “possibly”, or “I’ll consider it”, the answer is very possibly “no”. The Japanese prefer to avoid saying “no” directly.

Meanings may be read into even the slightest gestures. Consequently, avoid displaying unusual facial expressions and motioning in ways that are remotely dramatic or expansive.

The American “O.K.” sign (thumb and forefinger shaped into an “O”) actually means “money” in Japan.

Instead of pointing, which is considered rude, use your whole open hand to point.

Blowing one’s nose in public is regarded as impolite. When necessary, use a disposable tissue and then throw it out immediately. The Japanese find the idea of keeping a used handkerchief or tissue in a pocket disgusting.

Laughter may indicate embarrassment or distress, rather than amusement. Smiling can also be used for self-control, particularly in masking displeasure.

It is considered polite to periodically say “I’m sorry.” For example, the Japanese will apologize for not being punctual enough, having a cold, taking you to a disappointing restaurant etc. Visitors are encouraged to incorporate similar apologies into their conversation.

“Saving face” is a very important concept to understand. When a person loses his or her composure or otherwise causes embarrassment, even unintentionally (“losing face”), it can be disastrous for business relationships.

Welcome Topics of Conversation

  • Inquiring about a person’s family (a good conversation starter)
  • Praising the hospitality you’re receiving
  • Japanese history and artistic achievements
  • Positive comments about the Japanese economy
  • Sports, such as golf and ski jumping

Conversation to Avoid

  • World War II
  • Jokes (unless they are very easy to understand, self-deprecating, and made in a social rather than business setting)
  • Criticizing in any form that could cause “loss of face”
  • Ridicule of native social / business rituals and protocol
  • Negative comments about the local sports teams

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for JORDAN!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com 

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming on my blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for JAPAN

Coming on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SAUDI ARABIA

Check out the Articles Archive Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos’  for countries you may have missed!

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton, for your next meeting or conference to help you or your company become more successful in today’s global business marketplace. Gayle is the author of the bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’ and President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. Her vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire audiences of any size with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications and social business etiquette! Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland as a distinguished professional keynote speaker.

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