Negotiating in Thailand


  • Your initial meeting with Thai business people may be over lunch or drinks, so they can get to know you. However, do not expect to discuss business during lunch.
  • because of the Thai deference to rank and authority, request and correspondence usually pass through many layers before reaching top management.
  • Be flexible and patient in your business dealings. Recognize that Thais do not follow the same relentless work schedule that other cultures do. Allow sufficient time to reach your goal.
  • Never lose control of your emotions, and do not be overly assertive; that is considered poor manners.
  • Thais avoid confrontation at all costs. They will never say “no”, but will instead make implausible excuses or pretend that they do not understand English. They may even tell you that they must check with someone at a higher level, when such a person does not exist. Likewise, they find it difficult to accept a direct negative answer.
  • Always present your business card, preferably with a translation printed in Thai on the opposite side. (You can have these printed in Bangkok at MBK).
  • Thai business people will be impressed if you learn even a few words of Thai.
  • If someone begins laughing for no apparent reason in a business meeting, change the subject. He or she is embarrassed.
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