Patiently you wait for Mr. Tao in his Shanghai office. To this point, you have communicated with him via email to discuss a multimillion dollar business merger but today is your first time meeting him in person. Your palms grow sweaty but you’re not nervous, you got this. When Mr. Tao enters you stand up and greet him respectfully with a polite bow and firm handshake. As you present your PITCH deck, you receive several favorable nods from the members of the firm and feel things are going well. You even conduct yourself well for the duration of the meeting. As you’re preparing to leave Mr. Tao takes out a business card and hands it to you. You smile, take the card with your left and extend your right for a handshake. There’s a few murmurs from the others in the room, but you barely notice through your excitement.
Knowing how to conduct yourself professionally in any environment (called etiquette) can plays a huge role in a company’s success. Marko Mrkonjic hosted a global etiquette and sales strategy workshop that “provided insight into global business etiquette strategy across North America. It gave a strong background on fundamentals such as workplace etiquette, communication etiquette, and global growth strategy.”
Marko used real-life examples and stories from his past business experience to show how etiquette changes from place-to-place. In our story, the one where you gave an awesome pitch to Mr. Tao… you lost that deal. Not because your value proposition didn’t make sense, or you didn’t have a strong enough competitive analysis, the panel was even impressed with your company valuation, so what killed the deal? Taking Mr. Tao’s business card with only one hand.
In Chinese culture, in order to show the maximum amount of respect, one receives a business card from another with two hands.
The presentation was focused on etiquette in North America, but the conversation extended around to all ends of the globe. Marko’s instruction on how to understand and build a business up for success was useful to any entrepreneur, and can be the difference between life and death if they wish to expand their company. Marko taught the Global Entrepreneurship Program 13 high school students in attendance “useful skills” they can incorporate into their future businesses. The workshop didn’t only teach how to show respect in unfamiliar places, it also gave provided the young entrepreneurs of the future a place to start when they decide to build a business of their own.