Limp handshakes and quivering during presentations shows that you lack confidence and no matter what you say, the viewer gauges you based upon what they see. This is because the Chinese let their professional and personal lives overlap. These miscommunications can result in team breakdown, people not listening to each other and loss of good ideas. This is a central aspect of Chinese business customs. Having a good supply of cards is advisable. If a stranger accommodates our communication style and we perceive the intention to be positive, it will reduce our uncertainty and anxiety and promote greater rapport between the two parties. Let me introduce some general and important gestures in China.
Avoid expensive gifts, as this could be mistaken for bribery a serious criminal offence and always wrap the gift. All varieties of Chinese belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages and each one has its own dialects and sub-dialects, which are more or less mutually intelligible. As a result of this approach to meetings and their serial nature, patience is very definitely a virtue. Americans do not have a problem bragging about their successes and personal achievements. When Chinese talk about brothers or sisters they often mean cousins, so a few more questions about exact relationships may be necessary to discern who is who. Some of these behaviors are based on acculturation and learning and some of them are based on how our brains work.
Knowing your own personal style helps you differentiate your communication style from others'. Companies that take the time to thoroughly analyze external and internal strengths and challenges in the local context are better equipped to participate in Chinese-style negotiations. Mixing Business With the Personal Life Despite the fact that the Chinese choose the indirect path to their negotiations, they also tend to ask highly personal questions of their business contacts, which might seem in contradiction to their polite nature at first. The Chinese have a far more lax attitude on this matter. Understanding differences in communication styles and where these differences come from allows us to revise the interpretive frameworks we tend to use to evaluate culturally different others and is a crucial step toward gaining a greater understanding of ourselves and others. Chinese feel great pressure sometimes to take advantage of the opportunity to practice their English with any Western-looking person. Despite a nationwide English program of some years standing, the levels of spoken English in China are still widely variable and this will often depend on where you are, obviously with more English spoken in larger, more cosmopolitan cities.
This differs from typical, unscripted Western-style negotiations, where each team member has an individual voice in the process and is encouraged to use it. Make sure that your card has been translated into Chinese. Third is about eye contact. One way of accomplishing this is to talk in a private setting with no one else around your Chinese colleague might be more willing to listen. Japanese, Koreans, overseas Chinese or other similar-looking people are not referred to as foreigners, interestingly. Values form the basis for judging the desirability of some means or end of action.
When conflict arises, using silence as an initial reaction allows the conflict parties to calm down, exhibit emotional maturity, and take time to identify conflict management strategies that are least face threatening. Simplified written Chinese bottom lines uses less pen strokes and lines than traditional top lines. As a foreign language, German is the third most taught worldwide. China thrills in stronger relationships where each and everyone is taking responsibilities of their group and loyalty is quite important. Prove your case with logical, abstract explanations where possible. It is also helpful to understand certain precepts in Chinese communication, etiquette, and cultural practices. Bernstein hypothesizes that our speech patterns are conditioned by our social context.
Such stylistic differences are also shared by some ethnic groups in the United States. Elaborated and restricted codes: An outline. The company also must understand its strengths and weaknesses compared to potential competitors—in terms of both price and non-monetary value. Instead a number is added to the sentence to tweak the meaning. As a result, members from collectivistic cultures tend to give an agreeable and pleasant answer to questions when literal, factual answers might be perceived as unpleasant or embarrassing. Never erect your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, it refers to incense sticks placed vertically in the sanctuary of the dead. Do your best to address people by their full, correct title, no matter how extraordinarily long that title may seem to foreigners.
The Chinese proclivity for avoiding direct confrontation and personal embarrassment necessitates having someone who can speak informally to the Chinese team: to ask for clarification, exchange ideas, influence attitudes, and otherwise work behind the scenes. Be very careful about what is written. There is written evidence of the Shang Dynasty dating back to c. Language Matters German is the official and most spoken language in Germany and also in Austria. To minimize the focus and discussion on price, be prepared to highlight product values and company comparison in areas like brand recognition, quality, service, and overall perception in China. The West generally has a guilt culture, where right or wrong is of paramount importance. Different from a strong handshake in the West, Chinese adopts a soft handshake.
American Economic Review, 103, 690—731. Time is money in America, and so the faster you can close the deal, the better. When being introduced to a woman, wait to see if she extends her hand. When in Rome… Entering China with even a rudimentary understanding of Chinese culture and business etiquette can help business interactions go more smoothly. This is not the case for the Chinese, who value their national and societal identity more than anything else. When in Doubt, Follow Up with Specific Questions It can be very frustrating for Westerners in China to be constantly met with vague answers and inconclusive feedback.