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Business Etiquette in Thailand


Researchers estimate that in less than five seconds of someone meeting you they will have formed their first impression, that’s less time than it took to read this sentence. When it comes to business, first impressions can make or break a deal. If you’re new to doing business in Thailand then you’ll need to know how to make those five seconds count. From cultural no-no’s to business winning must-do’s, here’s our guide on making the best first impression.

How to Make the Best First Impression


Dress for Success

Analyze your attire; does what you’re wearing show you respect your business and clients? Does your appearance give the impression of success and confidence? To Thai people appearance is of great import, with business dress code being generally conservative.

Greeting

Five general-rule simple steps to giving a positive and confident greeting; 1) look the person you are greeting in the eye, 2) give a firm handshake, 3) greet them by name, 4) clearly and slowly say your own name, and 5) smile. Or if you want to give a traditional Thai greeting why not try a ‘wai’. To wai, the hands are raised as if in prayer and the head is bowed.

Body Language

One of the first things a person will notice when meeting you is your body language. If your body stance is slouched, you will send the message that you are not interested in the other person, while on the flip-side, if you stand straight and natural, with your shoulders back, arms at your side and head up, this will indicate your interest and enthusiasm.

Communication

Speak clearly, professionally and at an appropriate sound level and pace. Courtesy is something extremely important to Thai people, so make sure to be polite and respectful when addressing your audience; and try smiling warmly as you speak.

Location

Where you choose to hold your business meeting plays a big part in making a good impression. Choose somewhere professional yet comfortable that will suit your business meeting requirements.

The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok is a top choice for meetings and events, with 28 sophisticated meeting spaces and a selection of meeting packages and catering options to suit you.

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Avoid

In Thai Buddhism, the head is regarded as sacred, so be careful if you’re thinking of passing items over someone's head as this can cause great offence. Also, the feet are considered dirty so you should avoid using your feet to point to things. It is also thought to be offensive to pass anything with your left hand so always use your right hand to pass things and make sure to never point with one finger.

Finally

While Thai business etiquette might take a little getting used to, don’t panic. If you’re not sure, just ask. You’ll find Thai people warm and welcoming and very appreciative of any efforts to be culturally-considerate. Happy doing business!