06 Oct 2014
With more than half Australia’s adult population visiting cafés several times a week it is unsurprising the café has become an extension of the office – a kind of offsite meeting room where conversations are boosted by a shot of caffeine and air of conviviality.
"Australians networking in Asia, who usually worship at the altar of coffee, need to embrace the art of lunch."
Jacqueline Gillespie, Senior client partner Korn Ferry Australasia
Wherever I travel in Australia the coffee catch up is my mainstay. I don’t hesitate to suggest a first meeting over coffee - for what better, more relaxed and time efficient way is there to get to know a client or business contact quickly?
And while sipping coffee with my new acquaintance, I am often asked for advice on how to network in Asia. The first thing I say is don’t expect coffee catch ups. As although the practice is growing in some regions, for the most part in Asia people stop for lunch. They just don’t do coffee for networking.
Australians networking in Asia, who usually worship at the altar of coffee, need to embrace the art of lunch. And by lunch I mean real food, in real restaurants with people you have been introduced to by a respected third party.
So here’re some do’s and don’ts, distilled, if not brewed, from experience.
Finally, once lunch is done, prepare yourself for networking in the evening where in some countries, particularly Japan and Korea, much business is done outside the boardroom.
If you don’t drink, you should perhaps consider taking someone along who does, for many deals are done over a drink, or two, or more.
Overall, for Australians looking to network in Asia, it’s important to remember it’s not exactly one-size-fits all and what is standard here may not stack up elsewhere.
Jacqueline Gillespie is a Senior client partner and head of Asia Desk, Korn Ferry Australasia.
Asia is a big place with many different cultural norms. Do you do coffee in Asia? What’s your experience for appropriate social business settings? Have you ever unintentionally committed a faux-pas when trying to do business in the region?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or on social media.
The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.
06 Oct 2014
11 Nov 2014