Once upon a time, people in a hall were asked, “Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?” An African replied, “What does ‘food’ mean?” An East European’s response to the question was, “What does ‘honest’ mean?” Meanwhile, a West European didn’t understand what “shortage” meant. Similarly, a Chinese was unable to fathom the meaning of “opinion”. A person from Middle East meanwhile asked, “What does ‘solution’ mean?” A South American in the room; however, didn’t know what “please” meant. Finally, an American asked, “What does ‘rest of the world’ mean?”

Different mindsets couldn’t be demonstrated better than this light-hearted joke. Hopefully, it doesn’t offend anyone. Mindsets are shaped up by so many different factors such as history, economic condition, education, and government, amongst others. People’s mindsets in a culture end up influencing almost everything, one of which is business etiquette.

Business etiquette varies quite differently around the world. It’s important to understand all the different business etiquettes these days when successful businesses have to often deal with people from different cultures. Understanding business and gearing it to fit the audience works differently between selling to higher education and introducing a new gadget. Etiquettes are pivotal in shaping relationships with partners. For example, too much smiling can be looked upon as being insincere in Russia – even though you’re just trying to seem friendly. Proposing to schedule a meeting on Friday might not go very well in Israel. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, people expect you to leave some rice in your bowl.

(October 3, 2015 – LifeHack.org)