6 Things to Know About Thailand Culture While Doing Business in Bangkok

Bangkok Business Culture and Etiquette

A study abroad experience can be something you can benefit from for the rest of your life. With so many opportunities out there, it isn’t too hard to travel across the world and make a difference. Doing business in Bangkok, Thailand may be an option for you, and it can definitely be worth it. However, business interactions in a different country can be a completely different experience than you are used to. Here are six tips that can help you succeed on your trip.

About Thailand

Thailand is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia that is brimming with new and spectacular cultural experiences. More than 69 million people live here, with about 45% of the population living in Bangkok. This capital city is always busy and full of life, although the traffic is often terrible. You may get used to taking phone calls, skyping clients, and finishing projects in the car.

Bangkok, Thailand culture is very diverse due to the influences of India, China, and other countries in the area. Buddhism is very prominent, and you may see many Buddhist teachings and traditions that come into play during your time abroad. The main language is Thai, but English is widely used as well.

Honor the Concept of “Face”

Thai people are known for their incredible hospitality. Friendly smiles, polite greetings, and impeccable manners are quite common, especially in the business industry. While the people here are often very forgiving and patient with travelers, it is important for you to be aware of what you say about others.

Causing someone to “lose face” basically means pointing out someone else’s flaws and mistakes to put them in a bad lighting. While many other cultures don’t mind doing this or even do it jokingly, it can have a lot of negative effects in Thailand.

Relationships in Business are Important

Conducting business globally can be challenging because every country interacts differently. Thailand is a high-context country, which means that relationships are everything. Thai people value creating a connection with the people they work with. Expect a business deal to take time.

Most business transactions in the United States are fast, simple, and to the point. While this is an effective way to do business, some countries use a more intimate method. This is a great experience and can ultimately widen your perspective. Don’t be surprised if the Thai people you work with invite you to meet their family or discuss the business plan over lunch.

Respect the Importance of Traditions and Families

Thailand is known for the many beautiful traditions that are integrated into daily life. With Buddhism being so prominent in the country, it’s a good idea to keep in mind when Buddhist holidays are. Many employees and clients go on vacation during the months of April and May.

Being mindful of traditions while conducting business can be a great advantage to you and the people you associate with. For instance, bringing a gift to someone who invites you to their home is a sign of respect. However, if you bring flowers, avoid ones that are associated with funerals. This small sign can mean a lot more than you meant it to.

Recognize the High Power-Distance

Like most Asian countries, Thailand is known for having a high-power distance between family members, occupations, and roles in society. A strict chain of command is observed, especially in business aspects. Respect is your new best friend. Acknowledge the hierarchal chain in whatever business associations you have.

This valuable knowledge can also help you create relationships with business managers and officials who can help you achieve your goals. By being respectful and formal towards all you work with will help you gain credibility and respect.

Pay Attention to Context

In business relations, the context is very important. The way you treat a client, your body language, even the temperature of the room can affect how the exchange will go. This is because Thailand is a high-context country. Every situation considers the non-verbal signs and atmosphere.

This can be confusing for a student from a different country who is used to informational-based conversations. While studying abroad, be aware of these subtle clues. They can enhance your experience and help you develop deeper relationships with potential clients and colleagues.

Distinguish Business Fashion and Etiquette

Most Thai people have conservative fashion. A tie, white shirt, and a dark suit is a common outfit businessmen wear. Dresses that are more neutral are appreciated, as well. This culture enjoys a more western style of work clothes, and they value appearances that are clean and professional.

Along with business attire, a business card is an important asset to keep with you. Business cards are highly valued and often count as a first impression for your potential clients. Having a business card that looks nice and professional is important. When receiving a business card, grab it with your right hand and handle it carefully.

Final Thoughts

Thailand is a beautiful country with amazing culture and people. Although business may be a whole different ballgame over there, it can be a beneficial experience. The first step is to find a study abroad program in Thailand today.

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