Respect Cultural Differences
Going abroad on a business trip? You’ll save yourself some embarrassment and maybe some failed business opportunities if you know how to respect cultural differences.
For example, you have never touch the head of a Thai or pass an object over it, because the head is considered sacred in Thailand.
You must avoid using triangular shapes in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korean – here the triangle is considered a negative shape.
Perhaps your destination is Africa. If so, remember that the number 7 is considered the bas luck in Kenya, and has magical connotations in Benin, although it’s good luck in Czechoslovakia and the United States. Red – a positive color in Denmark – represents witchcraft and death in many African countries.
Only a short trip to Bulgaria? Be prepared, a nod mean “no” and shaking the head side to side means “yes”. Not prepared, you may agree when you mean disagree.
Most nations are punctual, whereas many Latin Americans have more relaxed attitude toward time. The Japanese consider it rude to be late for a business meeting, but it acceptable – even fashion – to be late for a social occasion. In Guatemala, on the other hand, a luncheon at a specified time means that some guests might be ten minutes early, while others may be forty-five minutes late.
Understanding and heeding cultural variables can partly ensure success in international business.
Are we Vietnamese sensitive enough to cultural distinctions?