Different Cultures and Business Etiquettes
As Kunkel (2010) Observes, we are living and conduct business in a world of billions of people from different countries, varying backgrounds yet we all belong to one world. understanding people and technology alone is not enough and no matter the profession you are or the position you hold in an organization, you don’t have a choice than to understand different cultures if you are a multinational trader. When a meeting is organized among several leaders coming from various and diverse cultural backgrounds, the meeting organizer should consider doing preliminary studies of various cultures from which these people come from (Kunkel, 2010). According to research conducted on business culture, finding shows that culture can be a great source of disaster arising if there is misunderstanding between any two parties interacting. Any business transaction needs to respect and acknowledge the customers’ own local culture for it to conduct any successful business. In a case where it requires that business be conducted by cultural experts, management should consider hiring employees from the destined market.
Another way can be training citizens from its countries to acquire the cultural processes in the market
Communication can range from verbal to non-verbal and in each case the management should consider acquiring skills required in each case. if the transaction require that business be conducted in no-verbal way, then there is need to train employees in ways to of using gestures to communicate e. g eye contact, and personal space issues. In verbal communication, employees should be trained to know the syntax and semantics of the native cultures. Choice of word is very important since some words in one culture having the usual meaning in one culture can be a hate speech to another culture. be taking any multinational business travel, you have to research on the communication and cultures in such areas you are about to get immersed including the way you offer incentives which can be a sign of appreciation in one culture while on another culture is a sign of bribery.
When a meeting is held between Nigerian, French, Indian, and Japanese leaders several concepts of communication basing on different cultures and religion arises. Even before the actual meeting start religion is the first factor which comes in to place during the preliminary opening prayers. According to Foster (2002) Nigeria is known to have domination of Muslims than Christians, this situation causes sectarian conflicts more often; it has over 250 ethnic groups with varying languages and customs and the number of recently catalogued languages sums up to 521 but its official language is English. While relating with people, the common method is shaking hands, men may place their left hand on persons left shoulder. While greeting people older are than you hand is shaken with the head bowed down. First names of people are not used unless invited. In business, business cards are exchanged formally, use professional name, their communication is indirect and requires non-verbal clues. Nigerians also prefer establishing relationships before meeting. (Foster, 2002)
On the other hand Buckley (2002) note that Japan has Buddhist and Shintoist religion which represents a large number of believers. More 99% of the population speaks Japanese as their first language. During business meeting, Japanese value politeness and universality rather than individualism. Casual dressing is not appropriate and attire is very important in higher positions. For men, black suit are considered to conservative while for women, wearing pants is considered as an offence. Japanese introduction are initiated by a bow, next will be exchanging business cards, Meishi, whereby meeting cannot start when presentation is not complete and are exchanged with two hands followed by examination to show respect.(Buckley, 2002)
France has the largest population of Christians. Its native language is French. In business, punctuality is highly valued and being late is considered to be rudeness. In terms of attire it required that you wear neat dresses. People shake hand at first introductions, while resuming later or leaving the room you don’t need to do so. Eye contact is also very important because it is a sign of equality in France and failure to do so means that you have looked down upon such person.
Indians take a short and light hand shake to be customary start to a business meeting during which professional titles are used. Then it follows exchanging of business cards amongst the delegates. Attire requires wearing of suit and can also be formal depending on weather. For Indians, punctuality is not of much interest as they term it as flexibility. During meeting try not to put your hands on the hips as is considered aggressive. (Wu, 2004)
To merge all these diverse cultures during a meeting by leaders from these countries, communication skills and cultural sensitivity plays a big role.
Known methods of merging communication by various culturally different people
In modern world, national boundaries are of no use in terms of business transactions since they are changing and societies are moving towards the state of interconnectedness through interdependency is achieved. Understanding good communication skills there fore is every important and it requires self awareness. This will help you in establishing good and long-lasting impressions about others. W hen different business leaders from distinct countries and cultures communicate during a forum, meeting, and even seminars, three communication styles should be adhered to; aggressive, assertive ,and passive .
`In aggressive style, the person is described to close minded, poor listener, interrupts another person during discussion and is known to try to monopolize the discussion. Such a person goes by the motion that “I am never wrong and therefore everyone should like me”. however, this style is characterized by some good that the communicator achieves his/her goals at the expense of others, a characteristic required to pave way in a business where limited resources are bided by many interested businesspeople. The second style is passive where the person is described as being apologetic, hesitant and trust others more than oneself. Such a person is known to go by the motto “don’t express your exact feeling and that others are right than I do”. This style can be good as the person sits on the fence to avoid conflict but such people are characterized by letting other people make decisions and have difficulty in implementing plans. This forces such a person agree externally but internally he/she disagrees and is known to ignore, leave or postpone problem. The third communication style which may arise during such communication is the assertive style. This the pert of all since the person believes that self and others are important. Such a person is an effective and active listener who expresses self honestly and checks on others’ feelings. He /she are decisive, proactive, self-aware, open, and flexible and operate from choice. The best of these all is the ability to bargain, trade off and don’t let negative attitudes build up all these resulting to increased self-esteem, motivation and makes others fell or get satisfied. (Kunkel, 2010)
By applying above principles the relationship and compatibility will be assured during the meeting and will be a great success to their businesses. There practices common in these cultures including shaking of hands. However much there exist these different beliefs during the meeting, each and every member must learn to accommodate one another.