Gyungbokung Palace in South KoreaThe correct way of speaking to a client or business partner is not the same in every country. Misunderstandings can lead to an unsuccessful business meeting or even the cancellation of a contract.
A simple way to prevent such misunderstandings is to learn about the culture in a particular country. In today´s article Jean Sim, a Korean translator, explains the practices used in business in Korea.
|Business begins with the exchanging of business cards.|
|Bowing to each other is a way of greeting, not hugging.|
|Touching – for example petting the back and wrapping an arm around a shoulder – is extremely limited during conversation.|
|We assign meaning to shaking hands. It usually means a potential deal that has been made after a negotiation but it’s not a way of greeting as in Great Britain.|
|A person’s first name is never used in business.|
|An ambiguous response can be expected. Whether Koreans like or don’t like something, they express themselves in the same way. Being straightforward is considered to be obnoxious.|
|Be careful not to unintentionally gesture by putting your thumb between your index finger and your middle finger; this means the same as showing your middle finger in Great Britain.|
|Expect a late response and a late arrival for an appointment. Do not make an appointment at a 15 or 30 minute unit, instead go by the hour – for example, not 12:15 or 1:30, but 12:00 or 1:00.|
|Wear formal suits with a tie, a belt and office shoes. Casual wear (even just a shirt and no belt) are not allowed. Appearance should be perfectly neat. No worn-out clothes and shoes; belts with stains aren’t acceptable.|
|Always cut your nails.|
|Expect meetings and entertainment with lots of drinking and golfing involved.|
|Do not blow your nose, fart (including the silent one, limit it as much as possible if you can) or burp in public. When yawning, always cover your mouth.|
|Showing food inside your mouth whilst talking or eating during a meal is ok. Always suggest sharing anything you eat. If you do not, it’s considered to be selfish.|
|If anything can be done for the other party, offer your service. Only doing things for yourself is considered to be selfish.|
|Do not mention specific times. For example, as part of a complaint, something that should take 15 minutes took 45 minutes. Nobody times a task.|
|Do not put your foot on the desk or sit on the desk; this is considered to be rude. Do not cross your legs. This is appears obnoxious.|
Thank you for the helpful insider´s tips.