People in China have a different notion of time management when compared with Westerners. They don’t have that urgency to get things done immediately, or let’s say, a short-term outlook on things. Therefore, you will need to exert a strong leadership attitude if you want your team to work faster.
When you come for a meeting, you should dress formally and always be on time. If you are punctual, it is a sign of respect and seriousness of your objectives.
The best times to schedule an appointment in China are between April- June and September-October. Advanced appointments are necessary; therefore you should always schedule your meeting one or two month in advance.
When you need to set up a business meeting in China, you should consider the following:
1 Setting up business meeting
- Send as much information in advance as possible to your Chinese counterparts
- List all the details about the topic to be discussed and background information about your company
- Expect that you may only receive the confirmation of the meeting one day before the meeting
- Come in with your team and with some technical experts
- Initial meetings are more about getting to know each other
- Arrange an interpreter who you trust to be present at the meeting
2 Arrival at a Chinese business meeting
- You should be on time, as being late for a meeting is considered to be very rude. You will be taken for a not serious person if you will be late for your meeting.
- If you are the host, make sure there will be someone who will meet the participants outside the building and lead them to the meeting room
- The senior-guest enters the room first, and the rest will follow in an hierarchical form
- The meeting will start with a small talk; expect personal questions to be asked
- If there are moments of silence during the discussions, this may mean that your Chinese counterpart is avoiding saying “no”.
- If you have some printed materials, make sure they are also in Chinese and that there is enough copies for everyone
3 After a meeting
- Follow up in a written form everything that was mentioned in the negotiation process
- Make sure to thank your counterparts for their opinion and time
- Do not expect quick decisions, because there will be lots of negotiations before a deal will be reached
When the meeting is finished, you are expected to leave before your Chinese counterparts. Most important is to keep in mind that rank is extremely vital in business relationships in China and you must keep this in mind at all times while communicating with your Chinese counterparts.
Do you want to know how to run meetings and projects in North American and European cultures, Latin and Arab cultures and Asian cultures?
Click on the link below to see a video about time perception:
3 Perceptions of Time That Can Make or Break Your Project
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