Doing Business In South Korea
At a first business meeting, your South Korean partners are primarily interested in being able to classify you correctly. The South Korean society is very strongly hierarchically structured, and all relations are determined by the finely differentiated rank differences.
In addition to age and family background, the most important criteria are the exact position in the company hierarchy, the length of service with the company and the educational background.
South Koreans will therefore ask you directly and openly about your age, your family, your position in the company and your income. Foreigners often perceive these direct questions as intrusion into their privacy. South Koreans, however, use the information gained purely for the correct hierarchical classification, which determines their further behaviour.
Exchange Of Business Cards
Against this background, the exchange of business cards at the beginning of a meeting is of importance. Business cards contribute significantly to identifying the hierarchical position of the counterpart. Consequently, your card should contain all the necessary information. It can be recommendable to reach higher with regard to your own position if you want to talk to the decision-makers who are highly placed in the South Korean hierarchy. In South Korea only people on the same hierarchical level can interact with each other!
After a not too firm handshake you should first introduce yourself with your first and last name plus your position in the company. Then present your business card with a slight bow. Your business cards should be in perfect condition, as they symbolize your professional status.
Position According to Hierarchy
If you travel as a delegation and meet a group of South Koreans, make sure that the participants are positioned according to the hierarchy. The highest ranking person is always welcomed first. There is no ladies-first, only oldest-first!
Videos Business Culture South Korea
Our intercultural business videos focus on what really matters when doing business in South Korea. Prepare for diverse international business situations within minutes.
First Business Meeting In South Korea
Respond to background questions and apply the highly important concept of gibun
Communication In South Korea
Allusions, facial expressions, intonation and pauses in speech carry information
Body Language In South Korea
Interpret non-verbal signals correctly to avoid misunderstandings in business communication
Meetings And Presentations In South Korea
Adapt to the South Korean meeting and presentation style without losing sight of your objectives
Negotiations In South Korea
Successfully navigate South Korean negotiation procedures to ultimately reach your targets
Business Meals And After Work In South Korea
Etiquette rules at the table, drinking and singing in karaoke bars and joint activities
Visitors From South Korea
Round-the-clock service will contribute to successful business
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