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Networking with Chinese businesses

Written by Joanna Tong at Bright-i

Food plays a vital part in the Chinese culture. Networking happens mainly in restaurants rather than business events and receptions. When you do business in China or other countries in the Far East, you will be invited to numerous lunches and dinners. It is customary for the Chinese people to entertain visitors and guests with food as a gesture of showing respect and hospitality.

Restaurants provide a neutral ground for business people to interact with each other in a more informal atmosphere. However, do not get too relaxed – and certainly not get drunk. The Chinese people negotiate deals and make important decisions both inside and outside their offices (i.e. in restaurants unsurprisingly). Some even say the latter happens more often than the former.
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However, it would be rude to rush into business negotiations in a restaurant. Join in the conversations as much as you can and laugh when others laugh even though you do not know the language. Be observant on subtle hints. Find out as much as you can about the people you meet. Beyond the sales pitch, you only do business with those you can trust – and this applies to both parties.

In my experience, networking requires sound interpersonal skills as well as business judgement. After attending numerous introduction meals and banquets (and then more meals) and still there are no signs of progress, you will have to decide whether you want to move on or not. If it is in your interest to exit, do so decisively but diplomatically. Remember it is a small world after all.

** About the author: Joanna Tong at Bright-i helps executives and businesses win staff and customer over with the ancient Chinese principles as a leadership expert and keynote speaker. Her book Dragon Leadership: Eastern Wisdom for Modern CEO has raised an immediate interested before listed in Amazon in June 2010. To download a free chapter and listen to the free audio course, please visit: www.Bright-i.biz.

February 23, 2011 | Category: Etiquette & Courtesy — Tony Altham
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