Many Chinese people live their lives in overcrowded and hectic proximity with a relatively low level of stress. Mostly, the guest is the first one to be seated by the host, followed by the seniors, and then the juniors. It is seen as obvious that one cannot please everyone, so pleasing oneself is the best option. The Chinese like to address people and refer to people like members of their family even if they are not; so people can be referred to as (big or little) sister, brother, uncle, auntie, and so on even when they’re not actually related by blood. Take the famous basketball player Yao Ming, for instance. However, the Chinese wardrobe still differs from a Western one in many ways. WeChat has an International version and is super for communicating all the way back home as well as in China!). Keep calm when dealing with government officials and void making situations unnecessarily tense. The concept of 'face' roughly translates as 'honour', 'good reputation' or 'respect'. Even if you don’t conduct business in Chinese, language use needs to follow quite specific norms. Would you be happy to hear criticisms of your home country? Chinese Communication Style. The key attraction for China is her rich history. Shanghai was about as different as anything could be to Xian, and even much of Beijing. Talk about what you like about your two countries. WeChat has an international version and is super for communicating all the way back home as well as in China! As an experienced business person you know making a positive impression relies highly on nonverbal communication. The next day was an early start to go to the Panda Base. William was our guide in Beijing, and our tour comprised 5 people including us. It is assumed that everyone should get married by about their mid-twenties and everyone who gets married should have children. Who Should Get a Graduation Announcement? Though the word “foreigner” is used by prejudiced people in the West to imply that people of different origins don’t belong, aren’t welcome and that they shouldn’t be there. Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first. Don’t take offense at the surprise if you do not fit into this category. Chinese protocol: Business meeting etiquette. Plants. in letters as well as Chinese characters. The seating is typically arranged by rank. Also, address the newly-met people with their honorific title and family name. Workplace listening is a type of active listening that is generally employed in a professional environment. For example, frowning means your counterpart feels confused or doesn’t agree with what you say. They can understandably become a little irritated when visitors favor with criticisms of China. Although talking about someone behind his/her back, or in front of them, but not to them, is considered rude in the West, it often happens in China, where it is acceptable for multiple conversations to take place between a group of people at one time. Chinese handshakes are … Even just a few simple words will improve your communication and business negotiation in China. Having only two of us going around the Shaanxi museum, she was able to help us with anything we found interesting, going at our pace. 84 means “having accidents”—not a number you want to use! It’s not! Getting ready to visit this culturally rich country for the first time? 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. But, hold on a moment! Martha and I discussed the best time to go and obviously avoiding the 70th Anniversary of the Republic of China Holiday week was a great idea due to the crowds, but yet, coming in at the end of this holiday, I was still able to see lots of celebratory flower displays everywhere, which was amazing. In all over 1.2 billion people speak one or more varieties of Chinese. When you do eat with chopsticks, make sure you don’t stick them upright in a bowl of rice. They will avoid touching during conversation unless it is to a family member, close friend or a partner. The elders almost always come first in Chinese society. Teachers are often addressed simply as ‘Teacher’. “The more people you know, the more opportunities abound.” There is a constant exchange of favors or “guanxi” as it’s called in China, going on, and so “The Great Wheel of China” turns thus! Remember that eye contact in China is the best way get someone’s attention without using your hands at all. In some cases, the host may give you a pair of slippers. What an amazing day! Be ready to laugh at yourself given the proper circumstances. As a guest in China, you will receive special treatment, and your hosts will go above and beyond to make sure you will have a good time. Being on time for your tour or at any other time shows respect for the guide, and for fellow travelers. You are very likely to be asked about your brothers and sisters. Most non-Chinese social media is also blocked: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. so it’s only natural to feel a bit overwhelmed when visiting China for the first time. When addressing people, it’s customary to use their family name together with a title. Hopefully this will be a useful introductory guide informing you what to expect from communication in China, and perhaps what tensions and misunderstandings may arise, how to prepare in advance, and how to act accordingly and effectively. BUILDING EFFECTIVE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS IN CHINA, a tailored cultural coaching session is always the best solution, EHLION’s cultural coaches are always on standby, Chinese English interpreter (such as we offer at EHLION). also happens regularly without any warning or apology - again - practice tolerance and be patient! (N.B. As an experienced business person you know making a positive impression relies highly on nonverbal communication. This can be frustrating when reading restaurant menus sometimes, but before you judge this attitude as ignorant and careless, consider how Chinese characters have been (mis)used in the West. 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. So ‘directness in the wrong situation can often be considered rudeness in China (although in certain instances can also produce the desired result!). Though not for the reasons you might think, politics is an extremely personal topic in China. Course Overview This is the perfect short course for working professionals in Singapore whose first language is not English... Beards = dominance? Others like to travel with a group. There are few qualms about revealing one’s age or salary in China (although Chinese are not so open as to reveal exactly how much money they possess). Never verbally attack or criticize China or the Chinese people and be careful about criticizing things Chinese generally, as many Chinese will feel personally affronted by this, and may get defensive. This is not the case in China, whose inhabitants are generally a very warm and welcoming people towards outsiders. The Chinese like to treat acquaintances or even strangers as part of “the family” to show acceptance. There are several Chinese culture taboos and sensitive subjects you should refrain from mentioning. Good and coherent with our request. When traveling to China, understanding Chinese etiquette and customs are essential for putting your best foot forward. We also managed to have our ears massaged and shoes cleaned, although the locals were most interested in our newly taught Mahjong prowess. Chinese wonder why Westerners stick their noses in other people’s business. Being on time is a sign of respect toward others. There’s always warm welcome and a smile - when in China, do as the Chinese do! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. When you’re invited to a Chinese family’s home, make sure you arrive on time. This 35 day private tour through China was set up by Martha Fu and her team. So, do not be offended at being labeled a foreigner. Chinese people may show up earlier to show their earnestness, but be wary of the situation. Understanding Chinese business culture and etiquette is a complex endeavor. When we saw the Temple of Heaven, there is an area where people – or their mothers – have their CVs to find a marriage partner. Different from Western-style handshake with a firm grip, Chinese people prefer a gentler handshake. However, preparing in advance will not get you confirmation of the actual meeting’s day and time. For some, these kinds of almost robotic compliments may come across as fake, or even hypocritical. Before turning to serious talks or negotiations, it’s customary to start with smalltalk. Chinese can ask what seem to be quite personal questions. Be careful when complimenting someone’s possessions or they may feel that you want it, and, so as to be a good host (the host is required to be very accommodating to the guest in Chinese culture) could feel an obligation to give it to you. Do not talk too much about yourself and do not interrupt someone in the middle of a conversation. This makes it much easier for the fashion of foreign travelers to blend in. Since the Chinese strive for harmony and are group dependent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to convey meaning or intention. It is critical you avoid losing face or causing the loss of face at all times. (There is of course the aspect that if the conversation is going on in Chinese, it is assumed that it will not be understood, and therefore it shouldn’t be a problem.). And you?” and the follow-up: “What country do you come from?”, you may have a contender for a nice quick chat! We went to the airport to fly to Shanghai. Note that it is almost unheard of for someone with non-Chinese features to have Chinese citizenship, and apart from in tourist hotspots, it is still relatively unusual to see non-oriental features in China. To quote a western phrase let it all be “water off a duck’s back”! 1. I have traveled the world and this trip was tops!!! 4 is a taboo number. Patience, tolerance, a ready smile, and a good sense of humor go a long way to making life less stressful and more enjoyable. You may use the ubiquitous “Chinese hello”: “Nihao” (/nee-how/) - literally ‘You good?’ - in American = ‘Are you good?’; UK = ‘You ok?’ It has the same meaning, most often as a simple acknowledgment or greeting. When accepting the gift, use both hands to show respect and gratefulness. Harmony (within oneself and with society at large) is highly valued, so getting angry, or appearing to lose self-control, is particularly frowned upon. They’re not! In China business relationships are highly dependent on the concept of face. Your business partners will often speak fluent English. This view h as . We would like to know the history of Shanghai club, the details of the day when the Japanese planes dropped bombs over the city's residential areas, etc. But, before you try, it’s doubtful that if you praised their car enough they’d hand you the keys! Doing so will lead them to become embarrassed and lose face. Remember that eye contact in China is the best way get someone’s attention without using your hands at all. Quite frequently this is a school homework task. It will help you understand why some businesses incorporate specific numbers in their names, or why people avoid organising meetings on specific dates. However, close friends or the same gender may stand or sit close to one another or walk arm in arm. It is as blingy and modern as Xian reflects the ancient part of the country. Nevertheless, these shouts of “hello” are usually a friendly gesture, and in most cases the only way Chinese people know how to get a foreigner’s attention. Greetings are formal and the oldest person is always greeted first. If the meeting is held around a large conference table, then the guest of honor is seated directly opposite the host. After a few moments of small talk, there is a short welcoming speech from the host followed by a discussion of the meeting’s topic. Showing up early to a meal you were invited to can be considered impolite, as it may give the impression that you’re hungry and eager to eat.