ONE OF THE MOST challenging misunderstandings I hear about when consulting with non-Asian clients is about "SILENCE".
1. The silence that follows on emails with potential Asian clients;
2. The silence during or following a business presentation in Asia;
3. The silence when asking a direct question accompanied by the faintest shake of the head or a muttered ‘yes’;
4. The silence punctuated by an indrawn breath like a long hissing sound implying ‘this is going to be very difficult’.
Many of these orchestrated silences in China, Sinagpore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and a host of ASEAN countries are the result of an over-direct or impatient desire to get an answer, a result or a deal as quickly as possible on the part of self-consciously ‘globalized’ foreigners.