As one of the premier cities in the world to do business, Hong Kong represents an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs in many industries. The city offers the infrastructure and facilities for businesses to thrive, however, success is not guaranteed. Whether you are a local and simply new to the business culture of this city, or if you are an international remote worker who is currently establishing themselves in the bustling city, it is essential to know some basic meeting etiquette in order to succeed.
When thinking about etiquette, there are many aspects of business meetings that you should keep in mind. Everything from the location of your meetings to the proceedings should be considered. For more information on great meeting locations in Hong Kong, click here. It can be tricky to know these things if you are unfamiliar with the specifics of the Hong Kong business world, but here is some advice on how to start off smoothly from day one.
Let’s look at some essential tips to understand meeting etiquette in this city.
Understand The Concept Of “Face”
Many Asian cultures bestow a great deal of importance on the idea of “face” which is essentially someone’s respectability and status. It is paramount that you maintain your own reputation and avoid doing anything to lose “face” or you will make your business life in Hong Kong much more difficult. At the same time, avoid harming the reputation of those who you interact with.
To do this, never lose your temper during a meeting or elsewhere. Avoid using overly aggressive tactics when negotiating and make sure to leave some room for negotiation when you are discussing the terms and conditions of any contracts or prices. This will allow both parties to have the impression that their reputation and credibility are on solid foundations.
Politeness Rules The Day
Essential rules of politeness are extremely commonplace in this city. In fact, it is difficult to be too polite in most contexts. Applying this towards business meeting etiquette, make sure that you always show up to meetings and appointments well in advance. While this should be common sense advice for virtually any meeting situation in the world, never be late to an appointment. If you find that you are running late for reasons beyond your control, call ahead to let the other participants know.
Make sure to dress appropriately in contemporary business attire. Being well-dressed will allow you to be taken seriously by your counterparts and will also indicate that you take the meeting seriously.
While English is commonly spoken in Hong Kong, it is not always universally understood. If you plan on staying in the area for the longer term, consider learning Cantonese to allow yourself to be properly understood in all contexts.
Business Cards Aplenty
Part of business greetings before the Hong Kong meeting is a firm handshake followed by the exchanging of business cards. It may seem excessive for foreigners at first, but these cards are traded with such volume that it is worthwhile to restock your supply before heading out on a business trip to the city.
Many guides to Hong Kong business culture suggest that you should make your business meeting appointments well in advance, even one to two months for important meetings. Make sure not to schedule meetings during public holidays, such as the Chinese New Year which is in late January or early February.
Acculturate Yourself For Success
While business etiquette in Hong Kong has some unique characteristics, common sense and courtesy will take you most of the way towards success. Enjoy your time in the city and do your best to heed local customs.