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Thai Culture and the Intricacies of International Business

International Business in Thailand

International Business in Thailand

There are many factors that a person doing business in Thailand must pay attention to. One of the most important aspects is how you present yourself, both in appearance and behavior. They appreciate calm people and are taken off guard by people that come across as emotional. Gender is also important. You must always shake the man’s hand and just smile at a women. According to Professional Travel Guide “The traditional Thai greeting is called the wai. It consists of placing the palms together in a prayer-like position at the chest and gracefully bowing the head.” This is a critical aspect of their culture and must be only used at certain times. It is very much a hierarchical culture. A way to get an advantage to other businesses is to have a business card that has both English and Thai languages on it. Body language can tell a lot about someone. For example crossing legs in front of a high ranking person is considered rude. Another sacred part of the body is the head and should never be touched. Many people in the business world speak English in Thailand. However they will be impressed if you now a few Thai words. It is perfectly okay to talk about family, as long as it is not demeaning or negative.

It is best to get an intermediary when conducting business in Thailand, to help with all the details of your visit. Most initial meetings will be over a meal or drinks. Just keep in mind that business will not be conducted at this meeting. This is not a fast paced business environment but they are very good business people. When attending a business meal, it is important to read up on all the rules of these meetings. There are many etiquette rules that they follow and understanding them is essential to having a good meeting where you do not offend their culture.

Have you had an international business experience that could have gone better if you had researched the culture? Do you have experience conducting business in Thailand?


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