- Be punctual. If you are late, be sure to make an apology for your tardiness.
- In Vietnam, people generally enter a meeting in order of importance – the highest ranking person arriving first and so on. The same goes for introductions.
- You are expected to greet everyone in the room individually, even if the group is large.
- Vietnamese colleagues will be interested to know your age so they can address you properly.
- Receiving Business Cards: Asian culture interprets the respect you show someone's business card to be indicative of the respect you will show the individual in business. Use both hands (or the right hand only) to receive a business card. Do not put the card away immediately. Regard it carefully and place it in front of you on the table until everyone is seated. Do not put it in the back pocket of your pants as that could be taken as you sitting on the other person's face. Similarly, do not write on a card unless directed to do so.
- Presenting Business Cards: Use both hands (or the right hand only) when presenting a business card and make sure the writing is facing the other person. Do not deal out your cards as if you were playing a game of cards; this risks being interpreted as rude.
- Allow a few moments of social conversation to pass before mentioning business.
- Negotiate in a firm and fair manner; appeal to logic and justice.
Personal relationships play a large role in Vietnamese business culture. Third-party introductions are almost a necessity, as Vietnamese people prefer to work with those they know and trust. For them, trust is key to good business. They will be looking for honest commitment to the relationship from you. Their business networks are often comprised of relatives and peers as nepotism guarantees trust. They only want to expand their networks with partners they can rely on.
If you display anger or lose your temper, you will lose their trust in doing business with you. All disagreements or conflicts should be dealt with in the most diplomatic, private manner possible. Also, be aware that Vietnamese business people may take spoken word as fact. You will lose face in their eyes if you do not act on your word. It can be very difficult to regain their confidence once you have broken a ‘promise’.
- Workplaces in Asia are hierarchical, based on age and position. Everyone has a distinct place and role within their business.
- Everyone is consulted before reaching a decision, which can lead to lengthy negotiations. Remain patient. Don't expect things to be done quickly.
- Most Vietnamese business people are internationally exposed and culturally aware. However, this may vary depending on ethnicity, age, gender and status.
- Acknowledge the important role women have in the workplace.
- When there is a point of tension or difficulty that can’t be resolved, Vietnamese businessmen sometimes resort to sitting in silence. This is their way of allowing the conversation to simmer back to harmony so that there is a clear space for a new topic of discussion. Westerners often find silence like this awkward. Try to resist the inclination to interrupt the silence or continue to push the problem.
- To avoid the loss of face, a Vietnamese person may seek to resolve issues in the workplace indirectly. For example, they may use a third person to reject a proposal, ask for feedback or discuss problems.
- On the Corruption Perception Index (2017), Vietnam ranked 107th out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 35 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat corrupt.