Business Card & Travel Etiquette: KoreaEvery year Korea becomes more and more modern, but it is important to recognize that modern does not equal Western. Koreans will not expect you to be an expert on the nuances of their culture, but they will appreciate a show of interest in matters that are important to them. Koreans generally appreciate a foreigner's effort in expressing a thank you (gam-sa-ham-ni-da) or a hello (an-yang-ha-say-yo) in the Korean language. Producing a dual-sided Korean business card (in hangul) is another strong sign that you are sensitive to Korean culture.
Korean Business Card Translation Etiquette:* It is best to stand up when exchanging translated Korean business cards.
* The exchange of Korean business cards is very important and a means by which Koreans learn about the name, position and status of the other person.
* Businesspersons should always have their bilingual business cards at the ready and should treat the exchange of Korean translated business cards with respect. (It is a sign of respect to receive and present items with both hands, followed in business etiquette by passing and receiving a card with the right hand. One should never give a card, or anything else for that matter, with the left hand, as it shows disrespect.)
* Exchange Korean business cards one-by-one, individual-to-individual, and use both hands where practical.
* NEVER distribute (or toss) your Korean business card in a manner similar to dealing playing cards.
* NEVER place a stack of your Korean business cards on the table and offer others to take a card from the stack.
* On receiving a person's business card, accept it with both hands and then study carefully what is written on it. Very often * Korean business cards will have Korean on one side and English on the reverse, so carefully examine each side where applicable.
* Do read and acknowledge the full name and title of the other person.
* In Korea, the surname is given first followed by a one or two syllable given name.
* First names are rarely used except among very close friends. Even when meeting a large group of people, it is considered polite to take a moment to read each individual's name on their Korean business card upon exchange.
* If you are in a formal situation, it is proper to place the Korean business card face up on the table in front of you and refer to it when necessary.
* DO NOT shove the card into your back trouser pocket.
* DO NOT write comments on another person's Korean business card, in their presence. You may write on your own name card to add information (e.g., email, home phone number, etc.).
* If it is in a less formal setting, you may put the Korean business card away after looking at it, but put it somewhere suitable. Just dropping it into a pocket may be seen as rude.
Business Meetings in Korea:* Punctuality is appreciated and business meetings should start and finish on time.
* The senior-most individuals are always introduced first, followed by younger and lower ranked participants.
* Questions of a personal nature may be asked, particularly concerning age, marital status, education, etc. These questions are not thought to be impolite, but rather to help the Koreans to recognize the appropriate social level and speech forms (degree of formality) that they should use when speaking.
* Since a consensus is important, there will usually be rather lengthy discussions before decisions are made. As a result, business negotiations will usually take much longer when compared to Western business cultures, so patience will be necessary.
Social Settings in Korea:* For Koreans, it is considered to be polite to wait for the eldest person at the table to begin eating before everyone else starts.
* Likewise, one does not excuse him or her self from the table before the eldest person finishes.
* It is a bad breach of etiquette to pour your own drink.
To get an idea of what some Korean business cards look like when fully translated and localized into Korean, please visit our Korean business card translation samples page.
Video on the Etiquette of Exchanging Business Cards in Asia:There are many dos and don'ts for exchanging business cards in Asia. In this video you will learn the proper ways to conduct a business card exchange in Asia. This etiquette & exchange video covers the proper way to present, receive, and observe Asian business cards.
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