Business Communication And Making Impression On First Meeting

The study presents a framework of procedure to improve business communication and making impression on first meeting of Australian citizen Mary with Chinese citizen Mr. Lau. The focus of the research is based on the study of area of potential cross cultural miscommunication and Hofstede cultural framework. Over the course of starting a first meeting, first impression plays a vital role. For which you need to understand the cultural values, norms, rules and regulation, of the country where you are palling to operate which is described in detail in the essay.

The method of sharing information between people within and out of the organization performed for the purpose of commercial benefit is known as business communication. Professional success largely depends on the effectiveness of business communication. There are mainly three types of business communication:

  • Verbal
  • Written
  • Electronic (online communication).

Increasing competition and eagerness of every organization to remain at top have given a tremendous growth to international trade. Telstra, Wesfarmers, Amcor, Commonwealth Bank and QBE insurance are among the top Australian companies that took their brands global. However, the real question is: how can it be done in a way that aligns the shareholders objectives with community needs? On a same note, with the increasing importance of international trade and business, the exchange of language, understanding and culture have also equal importance.

Every country has their own way of doing their business. Australian are very straight forward as it comes to business. They do not need to have longer relationship with each other before doing business. They are very much open to new ideas. They never ever think of applying aggressive sales techniques. What they always try to be is factual, friendly and to the point. They find debate to be entertaining. As the work environment in Australia is collaborative, the decision making will usually be slower. They usually appreciates patience. So, rushing to make decision is just worthless. Their answer are too much straight forward. They never find it hard to say no. The best season to make a visit to Australia for a business purpose is March to November as the season for tourist occurs from December to February. However, Chinese culture of doing business largely differs with that of Australian. Developing a personal connection is their first priority. Harmony, compliments, showing self-respect or actions which boost their self-esteem are what they consider most. They generally tend to use indirect language pattern. For example, they never say “No” directly. Rather they prefer to use “May be”. The Chinese culture of doing business is always based on win-win concept. To lose is to win and they lose in order to win.

Unlike Westerners, Asians mostly give importance to the group rather than the individual growth. In general, they conduct business, take decisions and socialize in a group. So, it make no sense to walk in saying “Hello Mate, Good to see you!” and sign the contract. So, anyone trying to start a business in with Asian must present for longer period of time, must have a ability to enjoy in the country in which they are operating business and must get to know its resident. Asian business etiquette is not only about how to showcase a business, what present to give, how to serve and eat whit a chopstick or how to address people. But the fact is etiquette must reflect business and cultural habits that are the fabric of Asian society. It is the way how people of Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Korea, India and so on shows respect to others. It is the way they mix up and interact, showing faith in their culture and beliefs. It is most essential, for example, for doing business operation in China.

Mary should find each and everything she can about the Chinese society which she plan to operate. The major religion or beliefs (Buddhism, Islam) their dignity of respect and hierarchy, and family values, and their importance to time and punctuality. She should also be aware of the importance and etiquette of exchanging business card in China. She should make sure that all her business details on the card which she is going to present on meeting must be printed in English on one side and in Chinese on the other side. On the same note, she should give herself face by presenting introduction letters from leader of business known to her hosts, overseas local business community members and former officials of government who have dealt with the country. Similarly, she should provide clear and precise written information in both English and Chinese about her proposal. She must be able to show their cultural sensitivity and present her proposal in a way that reflects the country ethnic and religious diversity. In meeting, she should prepare herself to adapt with words,, her timing and body language accordingly. She should learn to accept silence and pause for her words to be digested. The most important thing is rather than trying to learn Chinese in any depth, she should pick-up some local phrase and expression which she can use in her conversation as an ice-breaker like simple normal greetings like good morning, good bye, thank you and s0o on. So, things to be considered at first meeting to make an impression are:

  • Be punctual. It may be better to arrive quarter of an hour early as Chinese counterpart may do so.
  • Because of its formality, the first meeting may seems to be unproductive. So, she must show some patience.
  • At the start of the meeting small talk is considered to be best.
  • A good way to make an impression is to make inquiry about Chinese person’s family.
  • Other major topics to chat can include the weather, what she have enjoyed about her visit to China and other experience.
  • Seniority counts much in China. Always determine who is the most senior and greet that person first. Strict hierarchy of who you greet first, second, third and so on matters in China.
  • She must recognize some of the phrases that reflects “No” which may include “May be” and “I am not sure”.

Australian idea of privacy largely differs to that of China. Though most of the Chinese are now learning to respect Westerners idea of privacy. Some of them can still be very much straight forward with the way of asking questions. It is never considered to be a bad manner for asking questions like “how old are you?” or “What is your income?”. It sounds very much unusual that the way of writing dates make a huge impact. Avoid confusion by writing full of the date in letter like January 16, 2018. But if she has no intension of writing a letter, she should list the year first and then month and day. For example, 2018. 01. 16. She should also avoid the use of number 4 as it is considered to be unluckiest number in China. Never fix the date for a meeting on 4th day of a month. Number 8 is considered to be the luckiest one.

Psychologist Dr. Geert Hofstede published his cultural dimensions model at 1970’s based on his research. Since then, it is used as a standard for the purpose of understanding cultural difference. Mary should also consider Hofstede’s sin cultural dimensions model during her first meeting with Mr. Lau in China. Sin dimension that she needs to consider are:

  • Power Distance Index (PDI): This refers to the level of degree which exists between the people with and without power. If it is high PDI than Mary should be aware that she needs to go to the top for answers. If it is low PDI then Mary should try to delegate as much as possible.
  • Individualism/ collectivism (IDV): These refer to what mentality do people have i.e. “I” or “We”. Britain culture is very much “I” focused, meaning they focus more on their own personal growth. China ranks 91 on IDV, that means they are very much collectivistic and think as a group rather than individualism.
  • Masculinity/ Femininity (MAS): This refers to the role distribution among men and women. In masculine societies, the role of men and women are very much similar and men are expected to show assertive behavior. However, in Feminine societies, there is a higher level of gap between male and female role. China ranks 66 in this particular dimension which means that they are very much driven by competition and achievement. They give more important to work rather than their family.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance(UAI): The degree of how well people can cope with anxiety is described as uncertainty avoidance. China ranks 40, which means that they can best accept the ambiguous situations. It makes clear that China have more rules and regulations for avoiding uncertainty.
  • Long term/ short term orientation (LTO): It is strongly related to religiosity and nationalism. As added recently, it lacks the depth of data. Low scoring countries refer to those whose people are more religious and vice-versa. China rank extremely high on this index that is 118 which means that the focus more on persistence and perseverance and they are more religious.

These cultural dimension depends very much on country’s culture and are difficult to cope with unless you are that country’s citizen and born over there. Mary should study the Chinese culture and should take these Hofstede dimensions into consideration before entering to contract with Mr. Lau. Not understanding these dimensions may affect her first impression with Mr. Lau.

03 December 2019
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