Golden Rules for Dealing with Asian Businesses, part 1 of 3

Today, more Americans than ever are doing business in China, Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia. Below is advice explaining what Western business people need to know about national traits and customs in those countries if they want to succeed.

1. Speech is to promote harmony
In the West the primary purpose of speech is to exchange information. In Asian cultures, what is actually said is of less importance than how and when it is said and who says it. Platitudes are trotted out in profusion in Japan; flattery is also included. Westerners consider it as time wasting and pointless; in the Asian view, the longer this harmonious exchange is maintained, the more likely it is that successful business will ensue.

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About the Authors

Kai Hammerich received his M.B.A. from Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management and his M.Sc. in economics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark. Based in London, he is a consultant with the international search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. Kai has conducted numerous CEO and board-level assignments for major global companies. He has in-depth experience advising clients on how to align a company’s talent portfolio with its overall business strategy and company culture. Kai has been nominated by BusinessWeek as one of the most influential search experts worldwide.

Richard D. Lewis is a renowned British linguist and founder of Richard Lewis Communications – a language school for executives as well as a company that advises on cross-cultural business issues. He is the creator of the Lewis Model of Cross-Cultural Communication and author of many books including the bestselling When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures.

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