Understanding cultural differences is becoming more important in our increasingly interconnected global economy. That’s especially true in fast-growing, emerging markets like China and other parts of Asia.
I recently asked experts on networking in several Asian countries to share advice on how to network effectively in their markets.
“Face is everything to the Chinese,” says Jihong Hall, one of China’s leading experts on networking. She means “face” in terms of dignity, prestige, honor, respect and status. For example, she notes that Westerners often make jokes at their own expense or at other people’s expense. But she strongly recommends against such joking with Chinese individuals until you know them very, very well. If you cause them to lose face, she says, you will lose their business.
Hall offers three additional recommendations for dealing with Chinese businesspeople:
- When negotiating, always keep plenty in reserve. A deal must be a compromise in which you have given enough ground so that the need for “face” is satisfied.
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