Cultural awareness is very important because it bring to light the importance of getting to know others culture. Cultural awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions. With the globalization of business, increased diversity in the workplace and multicultural emphasis in society, cultural awareness has become one of the most important business tools in almost every industry. (Holt, 2010) Cultural awareness is very important when it comes to business because it can increase communication, productivity and unify staff within the workplace. To effectively be aware of cultural differences, getting over any stereotypes that you might have will be a start. Your knowledge of their culture will give you the confidence you need to overcome the stereotypes that have been engraved in your memory.
Good employees can mean the difference between thriving international trade and repeated miscommunication with clients. So establishing clear communication it very important when doing business within a foreign country, because it keeps everyone in the loop of what’s going on. Every one country have their own culture and ways of doing things to knowing the culture of the company is also a good way to ensure that your actions are not deems to be rude or unprofessional. Being aware of the market you want to corner and making sure that it fits the country in which you plan to market your products or service is vital.
For company’s doing business in China the process is different from business operated in the United States. Here are examples of three categories of how to ensure proper business etiquette when doing business in China.
- Greeting – When hosting a business meeting, it is proper etiquette to send a representative to greet the meeting’s participants outside the building or in the lobby, and then personally escort them to the meeting room. The host should be waiting in the meeting room to greet all meeting attendants. In a business contact, there is usually no touching involved. Hugging to say goodbye not a practice. When it comes to greeting at a business meeting in China, handshakes are common but wait for your Chinese counterpart to initiate the gesture. Regarding titles of courtesy, most people should be addressed with a title followed by their last name. Careful not to use “comrade” unless you are a committed communist of course.
- Communication Style – Chinese communication is ambiguous, indirect and highly contextual. The Chinese prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephonic communication. This is very important in social circles and when conducting business. Giving a gift is custom when aside from competency in the Chinese language, one of the more difficult and important aspects of communications with the Chinese stems from their tendency to speak in a vague and round about manner. When communicating with a Chinese business partner, eye contact should be maintained and no staring when you speak to your Chinese Partner. During any conversation, Chinese counterparts will often nod their heads or make affirmative utterances. These are signals that they are listening to what is being said and understand what is being said. These are not agreements to what is being said.
- Formality– Chinese people have high respect for foreigners and especially the experts. They do not feel comfortable to call you by your first name. When they are willing to do that, you know you have broken the barrier, and they consider you as one of them. Be on time. Arriving late is considered rude. If you do arrive late, apologizing for your tardiness is a must. Do not interrupt during the meeting. Chinese meetings are highly structured and interjecting beyond a quick remark is considered rude. Also, don’t put anyone on the spot by asking them to provide information they seem unwilling to give or challenge a person directly.
To be a part of any global business cultural awareness is a must, because your lack of awareness can cause your business to lose customers, investors, partners and interested clients. So doing your research on any country that you desire to do business with will ensure that you’re meeting business etiquette do’s and don’ts.
Commisceo Global. Award Winning Culture Guides. Retrieved from: http://www.commisceo-global.com/country-guides/china-guide
Holt, M. (2010) Chron. Culture Awareness in the Workplace. Retrieved from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/culture-awareness-workplace-737.html
Thompson,V. (2013). Chron. Things to Do When doing Business in Other Countries. Retrieved from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/things-doing-business-other-countries-64768.html
Upton-McLaughlin, S. (2013) China Culture Corner. Tips for Communicating with China Part 1.Retrieved from’https://chinaculturecorner.com/2013/09/24/how-to-communicate-with-the-chinese-part-1/