You will be offered a seat at the big round table (its always a big round table) opposite to the door. Refuse politely. Insist that your host sit in that position. If possible, claim the seat nearest the door. This will show that you are sincere.
212 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 2. When to Eat
Dont eat anything until your host does, or until your host insists. This is a minor big thing. In some parts of China, it is rude to taste anything until three main dishes are on the table. Other places they dig right in. Watch your host.
312 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 3. First, the Banter
Dont force the negotiation part. When your host is ready to bring up negotiations, he will. Just engage in friendly banter until your host brings up the real topic.
412 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 4. It Is Dinner, Not Combat
Dinner negotiations in China are not combat. You must remain reserved. Think before you speak. Never raise your voice, and dont push your points.
512 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 5. The Meaning of Yes
This is essential. Yes means yes, maybe or sometimes no. Chinese is a very contextual language, and many turn exchanges are required to set the context. The first answer to any question should just get you to smile and nod, not respond.
612 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 6. Your Best Friend
Silence is your friend. If you put forward a good proposal, and your host immediately quashes it, you should reply by eating and enjoying. Wait. The topic will come up again, and you might be surprised how well it goes for you.
712 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 7. Getting Toasted
Dinners of this sort involve drinking. Lots of drinking in the North, less in the South. Ask for a bottle of water. After each toast (there could be many), drink some water. Remember this about toasts. Its not cheers and have a sip. Its
812 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 8. Drinks, Drinks and More Drinks
Beware of teaming. Sometimes your host and his secretary, some of his friends, maybe others, will team up on you. You might feel like you are drinking way too much, compared with everyone else. You are. Your only antidote is to make lots of toasts your
912 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 9. Avoid Small Fish and Frogs
Some of the dinners may have some dishes you have never seen before. My advice is to avoid small fish and small frogs. They are generally not fit to eat, and the small bones might kill you. Politely try everything. If you focus on one dish, your host i
1012 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 10. Bones by the Plate
You are at a formal Chinese dinner. You just tried one of the small frogs or small fish I warned you about, and now have a mouth full of pulpy bones. What do you do? You spit out the bones. Spit them out (gently) onto the tablecloth next to your plate.
1112 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 11. Heart Medicine
Avoid rice liquor at all costs. They call it bai jo. You cant drink it, dont even try. If you are in Inner Mongolia and they offer you horse-milk liquor, tell them that you are taking heart medicine. Its worse than the rice stuff. Likewise, if you d
1212 Tips for Getting IT Done Right in China – 12. The Polite Approach
Above all, be polite. Being polite means, in addition to what you already have in mind, not saying too much.