Dos and Donts Doing Business in Malaysia 11-20

Malaysia: A Summary of Malaysian Business Best Practice

Tip 11
Relationships must be firmly established before business can commence. Do not underestimate the need to allocate time and resource to the relationship-building aspect of a project.
Tip 12
The aim of most meetings is to develop or enhance the relationship. This is generally achieved through promoting an harmonious atmosphere. Do not destroy the harmony through being overly pushy when trying to reach a decision.
Tip 13
Do not be surprised if meetings start late or last longer than had originally been scheduled. Build delays into your timetables.
Tip 14
All of the major cultures you may encounter when doing business in Malaysia are basically group-oriented. It is important to take into account the needs of the whole group rather than any one individual. Singling out an individual for praise or specific reward could cause that individual embarrassment within the group.
Tip 15
Politeness and diplomacy are prerequisites when doing business in Malaysia. Directness can be misconstrued as rudeness and is seen as the behaviour of people who lack respect. (And those people will not, therefore, be worthy of respect themselves.)
Tip 16
It is difficult for people to say 'no' or to deliver bad news. Don't always take the word 'yes' to mean 'I agree'. It could be merely an affirmation of understanding.
Tip 17
English is widely spoken and very many people have a near-fluent command of the language. Superficially, therefore, communication is generally much easier than in some other countries in the region. However, be aware that what is said is not necessarily what is meant. Look for the coded-meaning behind all communication.
Tip 18
When giving gifts, be sensitive to the cultural background of the recipient. Is your contact a Malay Muslim or of Chinese origin?
Tip 19
Be aware of the special requirements of the majority Muslim population with regard to such issues as prayer, diet and fasting.
Tip 20
Women will encounter fewer difficulties when working in Malaysia than in countries such as Japan or Korea.
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