Japan Printing

160 Broadway, Ground Floor New York, NY
Phone: (212) 406-2905

International Business Customs To Master Before Your Next Trip Abroad

May 27, 2015 / Inspiration

While English might be the universal language for business, cultural customs vary from country to country. In business, it is important that you understand this before you unintentionally offend someone at your first greeting. The key is to research, research, research! Here are a few quick tips to get you started.

business international

What To Know In China

  • Shake hands upon arrival, with a light nod of the head.
  • Do not be overly vigorous when shaking hands – it can come off as aggressive.
  • Business cards are exchanged at the initial meeting and should be presented with two hands.
  • One side of the business card should be translated using Chinese letters.
  • When receiving business cards, place inside of a case instead of a wallet.
  • Body posture and presentation should remain formal and collected.
  • The Chinese prefer light physical contact – a pat on the shoulder may come off as too “comfortable.”
  • Meetings should be made in advance, and being late is considered an insult.
  • The Chinese are tough negotiators. Be sure to strategize in advance.

What To Know In Japan

  • Be prepared to bow upon arrival.
  • After you bow, wait and see if your Japanese counterpart reaches out for a handshake.
  • Business cards are exchanged at the initial meeting and should be presented with two hands.
  • One side of the business card should be translated using Japanese letters. Present the business card Japanese-side up.
  • Do not write notes on any business cards that you receive. Carry a journal if you need to.
  • When receiving business cards, place inside of a case instead of a wallet.
  • Carry 100 business cards for a 1 week trip.
  • Wait to be directed on where to sit. In Japan, seating is often determined by status or rank.The highest ranking player will sit at the head of the table, and it will descend in rank down the table.
  • The Japanese prefer light physical contact – a pat on the shoulder may come off as too “comfortable.”
  • Light gift-giving is encouraged in the Japanese business culture.

What To Know In Russia

  • Before a meeting, re-confirm by phone – as Russians prefer direct contact as opposed to e-mails.
  • Arrive on time, but don’t be surprised if your Russian counterpart does not arrive on time. Often, Russians arrive late as a test of your patience.
  • Shake hands upon arrival. You should not shake hands with gloves on, or from across a table.
  • Russians are big on physical contact. Hugs, pats on the back and speaking close to your face are common gestures in Russian business.
  • Present your business card upon arrival, with Russian translation on one side.
  • Putting your thumb through your index and middle fingers or making the “OK” sign are considered very rude gestures in Russia.
  • Avoid showing the soles of your shoes and putting your hands in your pockets.

What To Know In Dubai

  • It is important that you greet the most senior person in the room first.
  • Shake hands upon arrival – this handshake could last a long time. Always shake with the right hand.
  • It is unlikely that a woman will agree to shake a man’s hand in a business setting. Wait to see if a hand is extended. A Western woman may also wait to see if a hand is extended to her.
  • When exchanging business cards, exchange and recieve with the right hand.
  • Many Middle Eastern people will stand within close vicinity to you while speaking.
  • Small and thoughtful gift-giving is encouraged but not mandatory.