Bamboo-zled by Asian Business?

6 October 2014

Image courtesy of Free Digital PanpoteUnderstanding the differences in communication focus is a critical signposting tool for travelling with the road map that the Australian Government has chartered for success in the ‘Asian Century’.

Will you be able to pass smoothly across cultural borders or will your communication style delay your virtual visa?

The development of productive commercial relationships between Australian and Asian communities is high on the agenda for many business sectors, including professional services, manufacturing, educational institutions, governments, community groups, and cultural enterprises.

Rachael Mah, the Managing Partner and Principal Trainer of AusAsia Training Institute, believes communicating effectively with your Asian clients, business partners and employees is essential if you’re aiming to make Asian markets a bigger factor in your business.

Here are Rachael’s top 5 tips for effective cross cultural communication:

  1. Understand the difference in business communication focus – is the other party “task focused” or “relationship focused”?  Business and general relationships with Asians take longer to develop as they value building deep personal relationships before any formal business deals are considered.
  2. Mind your manners! Every culture has its business etiquette, meeting protocols and social customs.  There are commonalities among the various Asian cultures, but there are also subtle yet significant differences that can catch you unawares, so school up!
  3. Lay a foundation for creating and managing cross cultural relationships. For example, greet the Asian business owners/clients with their prefixes/titles to show your respect.
  4. Build personal relationships first – short conversations about each other’s family in the initial business meeting are quite acceptable.
  5. Build on commonalities for “win -win- win” outcomes – objectives of respect, trust, customer and community care, and social responsibility, for example.

For a copy of Rachael’s White Paper on this topic, visit

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