Etiquette

The activities that take place in business affairs are not restricted to conference rooms and office meetings. Sometimes business meetings can extend to dining invitations, which may seem just as hanging around with a friend.  In a market that focuses more and more on fitting the globalization trend, it is important to connect business and culture. In order to focus on business, we will focus on dining etiquette around the world, in order to keep working on the idea of impressions, and how we want to approach other people in order to give the personal image we want to give away.

In order to work on giving off a better impression to business partners, it is important to acknowledge the difference in cultures, and the way they asses manners differently. This does not only show “proper behavior”, but it also gives us a sense of being around a cultured person, which is always a plus in a world where modern values focus on the acceptance of global ideals. We will therefore assess some the differences in some common countries, to give a general idea of what to expect, and what to prepare for while on business trips.

In Ethiopia, individual plates are considered wasteful. Food is always shared from a single plate without the use of cutlery, just hands. When given some thought, this is just a representation of cultural morals and values, since Ethiopian society focuses more on collectivism than American society does. As great as it would be to have more general rules on the continent of Africa itself, Africa is so huge, so diverse, so complicated, and so rich that it is difficult to say much about a shared dining etiquette across the continent. Nonetheless, some general ideas can be found, for example, in many countries, you will find no utensils of any kind and will be expected to eat with your hands. Remember, in Muslim countries, not to eat with your left hand. Watch your hosts in other countries for similar taboos and follow their lead.

Business lunches are common throughout Latin America, and usually long, from 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.Dinner is a purely social event, and can occur very late; it’s not unusual to sit down to dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.throughout Latin America. In general, you should keep your hands above the table at all times when eating, and pass food and drink with your right hand. It is a good thing to finish all of your food off to show appreciation for your meal. On the other hand, finishing everything on your plate is a no-no in many Asian countries, as it suggests that your hosts didn’t feed you enough. “They’ll keep refilling it, and if they run out, they’ll be upset that they didn’t have enough food for you,” Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and director of The Etiquette School of New York and author of The Art of the Meal: Simple Etiquette for Simply Everyone, says. Leaving a small amount on your plate symbolizes that you’ve had your fill and acknowledges your host’s generosity. And don’t refill your own glass, even if you’re thirsty. Fill someone else’s cup and wait for her to reciprocate.

Diners in Europe never rest their hands in their laps; rather, they place their wrists on the table. Keep in mind that European meals tend to last much longer than those in America. In Greek households, guests are often offered second and third helpings insistently. Go ahead and take more — it’s a compliment to your host. Accepting second and third helpings should be a good rule of thumb for most European countries. Everywhere in Asia you will be expected to eat with chopsticks. Try to use them if you can. A few guidelines will help you cope with chopsticks: Ask for help if you need it. Your hosts will probably be flattered and pleased to help. Use chopsticks as a scoop if you cannot manage more intricate movements. (think about practicing at home for a week or two before you leave.) Use the small end of a chopstick as your eating utensil, and the large end to serve others. Rest chopsticks on your plate or a chopstick rest when not using them. Never rest them in or across a rice bowl. You may use your rice bowl as a safety net, holding it close to your mouth as you eat. These are all general guidelines on what one can expect on their visit to different countries, however, it is recommended to do some research on the specific etiquettes for specific locations.

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Shanna

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