TIPS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED IN DEALING AND COOPERATING WITH YOUR COUNTERPARTS
Runckel & Associates, Inc.
greeting a Thai, use the word Khun (pronounced coon) in place of "Mr."
Or "Mrs." And the personís first name, which is listed first on his or
her business card. For example, a Westerner with the name "Peter Moore"
would be called "Khun Peter". Among Thais, family names are not usually
used. Most Thais refer to each other by their first names only. Never refer
to yourself with the word Khun; simply say your first name. Thais will
probably address you by using "Mr." or "Mrs." and your first name.
foreign companies may write directly to Thai companies, although introductions
will always facilitate a firmís credibility and acceptance.
many Thais have been educated in the U.S., Britain, Canada or Australia
and speak English well, speaking and understanding a conversation on a
telephone is often the most difficult part of mastering a foreign language.
Because English telephone conversation may be difficult to understand for
the Thai, it is best to write. This also gives the Thai company more time
to think about a response and may be a better means of communication considering
time differences between Thailand and other countries.
If there is any
question about the comprehension of English by the people you are meeting,
always use your own translator or interpreter. Do not rely on the
other organizations translator or interpreter. They work for the
other side and are more likely to protect their business interest and to
focus on their interests not yours. Also, meet with your interpreter
prior to the meeting and make sure they understand you and your company.
Thais greet someone by bowing slightly forward them while bringing their
hands to a praying position in front of them between the chest and forehead.
The exact location of the hand depends on the level of respect being offered
Ė the height and depth of a personís bow indicates social status. This
gesture, known as a "wai", can be used when greeting someone on arrival
and departure, and also when saying "I am sorry" or "thank you." Do not
wai secretaries and clerks.
enjoy combining business and pleasure. Business lunches and dinners are
very common. As a general rule, whoever extends the invitation pays for
the meal and the entertainment. If it is unclear who has extended the invitation,
then the oldest member of the group usually accepts the "honor" of paying.
a result of the leisurely way of life in Thailand, spontaneity and often
informality is acceptable and appreciated. Sometimes it is all right to
schedule impromptu meetings. However, this is not advisable on your first
visit to Thailand.
business would be wise to hire a representative or agent with local connections,
especially if they intend to buy from or sell to Thailand. Assess any local
representative or partnerís political relationship as the government is
still very much involved in the private sector. Networking with government
officials and/or correct authorities can be the key to doing business successfully,
especially if your firm intends to do a major project. Although a local
representative is often the best choice, monitor your representative closely
and require measurable performance.
Keep in mind
that in most of Asia that dates are shown in day/month/year format, ex.
5/12/99 means December 5, 1999. To avoid confusion, you may want
to use the full date in correspondence.
Bring a large
supply of business cards and advertising material. You may meet many
more people than expect. Asians view the exchange of business cards
in particularly as a very necessary opening ritual.
If a Thai person
gives you a compliment, be polite and deny it. Modesty is considered
a blessing in Asia even more so than in other regions.
of local culture but don't expect that you have to know everything.
Most Thais will make allowances for foreigners.
Try to learn
a few words of the local language. This show's to all your interest
in the country and its culture and is considered another demonstration
of your cultural sensitivity and good breeding. (see keyword in
Thai from Homepage)
business visits during the New Year Festivals (both the Chinese and Thai
are expected to be punctual, but do not expect Thais to be on time.
traffic is the most common excuse for tardiness. Whenever possible, avoid
scheduling meetings after 3:30 pm because locals often leave their office
early to get a head start on evening rush-hour traffic.
meetings should be held in offices, restaurants, or hotel lobbies. Men
may be invited to "member clubs" Thais are often impressed if you stay
at an expensive hotel; luxury suggests that you represent a very successful
cards are always exchanged at the first meeting. It is important to carry
a sufficient quantity; failure to offer a business card may make Thais
suspicious of your position and authority. Be sure your card indicates
your position and responsibility, as Thais are impressed by titles.
initial meetings with casual conversation on such topics as your travels,
the beauties of Thailand, and your counterpartís overseas experiences.
topics relating to politics, the royal family, and religion. Be generous
in your praise of the country and the Thai people and refrain from boasting
about your country and yourself.
are not required for early meetings. If you wish, you can present sample
products from your company.
touch or point with your feet. It is consider rude to cross your legs and
point your feet to someone.
place a great importance on appearance and politeness. Be conscious of
this and respond accordingly.