Thai Business Etiquette and Protocol


Business Etiquette and Protocol

Relationships & CommunicationEtiquette in Thailand

. Thais prefer doing business with people they respect.
. Relationships develop slowly and do not flourish after one meeting; it may take several meetings.
. Always be respectful and courteous when dealing with others as this leads to the harmonious relationships necessary within business.
. Thai communication is formal and non-verbal communication is often more important than verbal communication.
. Rank is always respected. The eldest person in the group is revered.
. It is difficult for most Thais to say no, so you must be cognizant of their non- verbal communication.
. Watch your body language and facial expressions, as these will be believed over your words.

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are necessary and should be made one month in advance.
. It is good idea to send a list of who will be attending the meeting and their credentials so that Thais know the relative status of the people attending the meeting and can plan properly.
. You should arrive at meetings on time as it signifies respect for the person you are meeting.
. Although most Thais will try to be on time, punctuality is a personal trait.
. Always send an agenda and material about your company as well as data to substantiate your position prior to the meeting. Allow sufficient time for the material to be reviewed and digested.
. Remain standing until told where to sit. The hierarchical culture has strict rules about rank and position in the group.
. Written material should be available in both English and Thai.
. You must be patient.

Dress Etiquette

. Business attire is conservative.
. Men should wear dark coloured conservative business suits.
. Women should wear conservative business suits or dresses. Women need not wear hosiery.
. Since Thai’s judge you on your clothing and accessories, ensure that your shoes are always highly polished.

Business Cards

. Business cards are given out after the initial handshake and greeting. In theory, you should give your card to the most senior person first. . It is advisable to have one side of your business card translated into Thai.
. Using your right hand, deliver your business card so the Thai side faces the recipient.
. Look at a business card for a few seconds before placing it on the table or in a business card case. As in most Asian countries, it is polite to make some comment about the card, even if it is only to acknowledge the address.