Vietnamese economy relies on other countries for import products such as petroleum products, vehicles, heaving engineering, and electronic equipment. In the meantime, the country did export textile, furniture, rice, coffees and many other products worldwide. This bilateral transaction had forced both Vietnamese and foreign partners to “meet and greet” in order to sustain the business relationship.
The first business meeting normally will start with professional greetings. Handshake is a common form of greeting when entering and leaving a business meeting. The handshake is not as firm as American type and short. It is acceptable to shake hand with women and make sure it is quick and polite to avoid from further intimidation. To play safe, when woman and man are greeting each other, you can nod to each other or let the women to initiate the handshake first.
Dress to Impress
You might be heard the term “Dress to impress.” A business suit with conservative colours such as black, navy blue and dark grey is perfect. You will observe Vietnamese businessman like to wear a white shirts matched with red or maroon necktie in many formal occasions. During summer, you may attend a casual meeting by wearing Polo T or short-sleeve shirts with black pants or khakis. Be in mind that your Vietnamese partner will spend their first 30 seconds of the meeting to screen your appearance before moving to the meeting agenda.
Punctuality is important in every business meeting or event. Typically, in Vietnam, there will be some delay in most of the appointments or events, but you are advised to show up on time. You will expect a long pause between conversation, and it is impolite for you to interrupt between the talk.
Professional Business Cards
Some organizations spend thousand of dollars to ensure their business card will speak up their business. It is a must to have a professional business card whenever you attending a business meeting or networking. Hand your business card to the receivers in both hands and when receiving their business card, spend a quick time to read the contents as you need to show your interest towards their business. It is advisable to have the business card in English and Vietnamese version as you cannot assume everybody can speak English.
Go an extra mile by bringing a gift when meeting up with your business partner. A pack of hampers will be great and hand it with both hands. Be in mind that Vietnamese do not open the hamper in front of you and share it. A bouquet of flowers normally is for grand opening or funeral and unsuitable for formal business meeting.
“Professional HELLO” is an art to make your client comfortable doing business with you. It is a skill and you need to adapt it, especially when you are doing business in South-East Asia.