Principles of diplomatic etiquette and business communication with foreign partners (I)

03/02/2014 11:04am

Автор: editorial

Категории: business ethics


Principles of diplomatic etiquette and business communication with foreign partners (I)

 The article is devoted to Ushakov B.G.
Foreign Trade Academy, Moscow.

General concepts and fundamental principles of diplomatic etiquette are briefly described in this work. Business cards as an instrument of communication with business partners. Business conversation with partners. Land arrangement of delegation (taking, automobiles, time, place, menu, invitation list, etc.). Onsite visit. Problems of etiquette. The dos and don'ts of polite manners.
Diplomatic etiquette is the complex of customaries, rules, habits, observed by government facilities, organizations, authorities, businessmen and others, who participate in external communication.
Principles of diplomatic etiquette:

  1. Comity of nations
  2. International character of diplomatic etiquette

Any foreign person, who in the host state, should be respected on the part of official persons and government of this country. Each foreigner should show respect to the government, customs, traditions, lows of the host state.
3. Principle of mutuality

Etiquette at the formal events

To formal events one may refer different receptions and ceremonies, held on the occasion of national holidays, historically significant dates, arrival of foreign delegations, heads of state and government, etc. Such receptions are navigated by heads of state, government, ministers, and also embassies, consular agencies, trade delegations of the state abroad.
Military attaches, commanding officers, who have the visit of friendship at foreign base, representatives of local military command and civil authorities in accordance with the procedure of solemnities extension to military guests may also navigate receptions.
Diplomatic receptions are given independent from any event in the procedure of daily diplomatic operation. For diplomatic mission such receptions are the most common. Because of the fewness of guests, such events may be a good possibility for conversational gambit, strengthening and extension of contacts, getting of the necessary information, influence on the local circles at the necessary way, specification of external policy of the country.
Independent from purpose, size and type, diplomatic reception carries political character, as it provides meeting of foreign representatives.
Being abroad, the visitor should respect rules and customs, accepted in this country. Inviting the foreigner to a formal event, one should take care of not to put him into the state, abasing or offending his national dignity, otherwise he may estimate it as contempt to his state and nation.
First of all one should strictly observe business etiquette. While discharging of  own functions, formal events planning, participating in ceremonies and procedures, diplomatists act in respect with business etiquette, which suggests a complex of  generally accepted rules, traditions, conventionalities, observed by governments, national representatives abroad (embassies and consular agencies) in the process of communication with each other. Nowadays a lot of elements of formal diplomatic etiquette are the part of customaries and rules of business etiquette.

Common rules of etiquette

Greeting in certain countries have national overtone. Handshake is the main form of greeting. But in some countries handshake with women is not customary. Buccally kisses are typical for France and Mediterranean countries, hugs – for Latin America. Two palms held together is national Indian greeting. In many countries religion influences business a lot. One should know about doxies of the host country, but not get into argument concerning this topic. One should know that Buddhistic ikons are sacral: they should not been photographed or touched without permission. One should always be diligent, take into account road traffic and flock in the streets.
Clothes are an essential element, because it is a part of appearance. It should be low-key, well-tailored and of high quality. White shirts and dark suits are the most common. Women in business travels should not wear trousers and too short skirt or sleeveless dress as well.
If one comes to the country not for the first time, he should care for having on the back of the business card information in the language of this country. In South-east Asia, Africa and Middle East business cards are always offered with the right hand. In Japan it is offered with two hands with appropriate side to the partner.
One should respect national traditions in food, holidays and nation's leadership of the country visited. To eat local food is considered good style in many countries. During meal, if it is unknown for a visitor, he should not ask “what is this”, just eat what is offered. One should cut the portion small.
Do not criticize.
One should be acquainted with monetary system of country visited.
Do not boast with big money.
Communication should be of strictly official character.
If you do not know the language of the country visited, you should have an interpreter during conversations. To know some general expressions is important. While conversation through an interpreter, the presence of a person knowing both languages is desirable in order to control the interpretation and correct mistakes. If the partners speak too quickly for you, you may ask them do it more slowly explaining incompleteness of language proficiency. But never accuse them of speaking quick. If negotiations are held in your native language, you should not accuse the partner for accent as well; you should speak slowly and clean. Do not joke, because national humor is very specific, as well as slang, which also should be avoided.
One should show respect to elders everywhere. They are the ones, who should start the conversation first. When elder people are entering the room, one should stand up.
The other separate and delicate matter is perquisite. It is not common for Islamic countries, New Zealand and CIS countries. In Italy perquisite makes 23% from the cost of services, in Egypt it is greater and quite considerable. In Japan, when having received tab, one should put the money into envelope. One cannot demand everything to be as at home: food, service etc.
One should not spend at the hot country too much water, heat and light. Some countries have phone counters. That is why it is polite first to offer the host to pay the call. One should keep in mind the names. If the name is complicated, you should train its pronunciation. Note that names may point to social status and family status. One should not mention people by name, if they do not suggest that.
One should certainly stand up when national anthem of the country visited sounds. Observe and repeat the actions of the host.
Not wear specific traditional costumes, like toga or sari, as it may happen to be of religious character.
One should remember that in pagoda, mosque, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian houses and restaurants it is forbidden to be booted. Shoes must be left at the entry with toes to the door.
To be careful with usage of habitual gestures.  In different countries they have different meanings, not always gentlemanlike. 

Reply to an invitation

In all cases when in the received invitation for breakfast, dinner or supper or other type of reception, the letters R.S.V.P are left non-struckout, or there is phrase “Please reply”, you must beforehand answer whether the invitation is accepted, by phone or in written form. The absence of answer or its lateness shall be regarded as discourtesy and rudeness. If the invited cannot reply to an invitation beforehand, he should decline it, rather than keep silence and drag it.
After affirmative reply, visit the reception is obligate. Only in extreme case, if there appeared any unforseen or exigent circumstances that prevent from visiting, one may refuse to accept, but with reasonable notice for the host. If in the invitation the letters R.S.V.P. are struckout or absent (such comes around when it is standup reception, without sitting at the table), there is no need in reply.
Arrival and departure. For breakfast, dinner or supper or other type of reception, which contains reply request, one should come at specified time sharp. Arriving late is considered to be breach of etiquette and may be perceived negatively and even offendedly. If from one administration or institute several representatives are invited and they come for reception together, then first come those, who are junior by virtue of his position and then elder ones. If the reception without sitting at the table and in the invitation there is time of its beginning and end (15.00-17.00; 19.00-20.00 etc.), then one may come and leave at any moment within specified time.
There is no need to come to the beginning of reception and stay till its end as well. Still, it is considered that coming at such reception in its beginning and departure in its end speaks for respect to the partner and friendly relations. And vice versa, if one wants show or emphasize chill or tension in relations, he should stay at the reception for 15-20 minutes and then take leave.
In any case, official person should not leave the reception before elder visitors.
Manners at diplomatic receptions. Any diplomatic reception is the meeting place for foreign representatives, who in their relations with each other follow common rules of politeness, kindness and touch.
Foreign guests, come for the reception, pay honour the diplomatic representative and his country that is why they must be taken with honor and care.  Diplomatic representative and his colleagues take care of the convenience, talk with guests and treat them.  It cannot be tolerated that diplomatic representatives gathered in their own circle, forgetting about the guests.
At cocktail receptions or perpendiculars that are standup, guests come up to the tables, take snacks in their plates and leave the tables in order to allow others guests to come to the table.  This rule should not be ignored.
One should not remain unnecessarily at the receptions, where residence time is stated, as it may be burdensome for the host. Unfavourable impression may make the cases, when the guests at the reception leave it just after leaving the main guest. It is better to clear gradually.
The younger greet the elder first, men greet women, a woman greets a man, who is much older than she is. An exception from this rule is a person, come into the room, whether he is male or female, so he greets those there present, the leaving parts with remaining.
In case, when there are some people in the room, one should greet the mistress, then other women, then the man of the house and other men.
Greeting a man, a woman should offer her hand first. If she gives a bow only, a man should not offer his hand. The same concerns the elder and younger men.
A man always stands up (except very aged and ill, who cannot stand up easily) greeting both woman and man. A woman greeting a man does not stand up. A man greeting a woman stands up. The exception is a mistress; she always stands up, when takes in guests, greets them. In official situation a man may not stand up when greeting a woman. Women stand up greeting very aged men.
Having greeted your counterpart, a man may sit down. If he greets someone who is older than he, he may sit down only after they do or with their allowance. If the mistress suggests to sit down and keep on standing, you should not sit down.
When greeting a woman, a man may kiss her hand. But this may be done only indoors!
It is not customary to greet someone through the sill, table or any other baffle.




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