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  1. #1
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    What do I tell them?

    A couple of good mates are going to Thailand for business in a couple of weeks and I plan to go and meet them, it'll be a good meet up, haven't seen them for ten years, they've already booked the park plaza online so all good and well, but they asked me
    "Also, can you let us know of any Thai customs and protocol when attending meetings with the Thai people. What do you wear when you see your customers, should we take a suit and tie or do you go casual? What else do we need to know to avoid traps for young players that will offend the Thai's."
    They've never been before and are looking for suppliers of 'organic' coconut milk.
    Any suggestions for them?
    (Apart from the obvious 'don't buy a bar girl a house' and so on)

    "In my professional assessment as an intelligence officer, Trump has a reflexive, defensive, monumentally narcissistic personality, for whom the facts and national interest are irrelevant, and the only thing that counts is whatever gives personal advantage and directs attention to himself."

  2. #2
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    1. Suit and tie is good and basically look presentable especially for the first meeting, clean cut...... blah......blah and advise them to talk slow.

    By the way I have a contact for the product they are looking at, probably the largest exporter of coconut milk out of Thailand and if they are looking for a good supplier (not only out of Thailand but also Malaysia).

    PM me if they are interested.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
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    Yup. Suit and Tie (and clean shoes etc.) Thai's tend to pay more attention to grooming than people in the west.

    Tell them to read a few of the guide books does and donts also, such as pointing feet, smiling, not getting angry (or loud which can be interpreted as angry)

  4. #4
    I am in Jail

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    Suit & Tie. Haircut, brush teeth, deodorant. Polish shoes. Wear socks.
    Talk politely and look interested when spoken to.
    Do not "Wai" first. Wait for them to do so. Then return the gesture.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
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    Also do not underestimate them. Not all thai's are monkeys, despite many sexpats protestations otherwise.

    Many thai's, particularly ones already in business are well educated and smart.

  6. #6
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    hmm.......suit and tie, for meeting with organic coconut milk suppliers?

    err....unless it's a multi-million dollars company, then it's OTT if you ask me..

    Long sleeves shirt w/ a collar and a trouser - pressed......should be sufficient enough.

  7. #7
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
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    ^not necessarily educated/smart, but give them the benefit of the doubt.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooncake
    hmm.......suit and tie, for meeting with organic coconut milk suppliers? err....unless it's a multi-million dollars company, then it's OTT if you ask me..
    Obviously you ain't done any business in Thailand Mooncake?

    Probably the richest guy in Thailand started off selling chicken manure.

    In fact the only time I ever wear a suit is in Asia and for business meetings and to be sure they appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Don't buy cheap Thai spirits. Get a decent bottle of whisky (bring one from home).

  10. #10
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    LoyToy
    U r correct I haven't done any business in thailand, as I was studying in the west along with my 2 brothers at the time.
    But my family has been doing the business for over 2 decade in bkk....and ....I saw things

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooncake
    I saw things
    Well you would of saw a lot of Rolex's, gold rings with huge Jade and Diamond stones, Mercs and designer suits.

    Asian's associate good presentation with success and they want to have a part of it and if you really have it.

    These lads are coming from a long way away and to establish a business relationship with what they hope will be an export certified, F.D.A approved manufacturer of food products and a good first impression is important and from both sides.

    I might also suggest Dug that as a potential customer the boys should request that the supplier meets the boys at their hotel (hopefully an upmarket one even for one night) and hold the first discussions in the hotel meeting room. Then if accepted a factory tour can be arranged.

  12. #12
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    I also think that it is better to be slightly overdressed than under, as a general rule.

  13. #13
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
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    ^flip flops and vests are out I guess?

  14. #14
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    It depends what their business is- but they won't go wrong starting off with a suit & tie, even if they dress down from there. Obviously dress protocols in investment banking differ from those in sourcing agricultural produce. But always be well grromed and neat- outside of 'creative' pursuits, designer stubble, long hair and ponytails just don't cut it with Asian businessmen. Consciously look affluent too- they love their brand names.

    Black label and Chivas make a well received gift/ bribe.

    Tone down your vulgar body language too, farang. Never appear agitated, or excited.

    Thats my best advice, given the generality of the enquiry.
    probes Aliens

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by britmaveric View Post
    ^flip flops and vests are out I guess?
    In your case, probably not, I dont think the TV sexpats and their bargirl wives were anything else, but flip flops and singlets.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    It depends what their business is- but they won't go wrong starting off with a suit & tie, even if they dress down from there. Obviously dress protocols in investment banking differ from those in sourcing agricultural produce. But always be well grromed and neat- outside of 'creative' pursuits, designer stubble, long hair and ponytails just don't cut it with Asian businessmen. Consciously look affluent too- they love their brand names.

    Black label and Chivas make a well received gift/ bribe.

    Tone down your vulgar body language too, farang. Never appear agitated, or excited.

    Thats my best advice, given the generality of the enquiry.
    Yeah, I first told them smart casual (shoes, slacks, belt good polo shirt) would be ok. I've since upgraded it to 'dress up to the nines'.
    Thanks guys.

  17. #17
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    I can remember in Oz (60's) every Sunday all the fathers getting dressed up in their "Sunday Best" suits normally with a hat and it was all very proper.

    I am probably the most casual bloke alive but I always wore a suit to every meeting in Asia and particularly the first meetings. Almost always I found that the Asians wore suits (even the lower company reps and the factory technicians) if they joined a technical/ sales meeting.

    Whether this suit parade is a load of bullshit or not I have found they (the Asians) take you far more seriously if you are properly attired and wearing a "business suit".

  18. #18
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    Smart casual.

  19. #19
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    Any other cultural tips for them.
    I already told them about LM topics.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dug
    Any other cultural tips for them.
    If you can control where the first meetings are going to take place ie; Hotel Lobby or meeting room then culture doesn't really come into it.

    Be polite and direct to the point is the best policy always and never ever indulge in beer or other forms of alcohol at these meetings unless they offer to buy first.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dug View Post
    Any other cultural tips for them.
    I already told them about LM topics.
    Never pat their heads.

  22. #22
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    They love cheek kissing like the poofy Frogs do.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dug View Post
    Any other cultural tips for them.
    I already told them about LM topics.
    Never pat their heads.
    I wonder about that, under what circumstances would you pat a potential business associate on the head on a first meeting??
    Is it acceptable to pat a ho's head while she's giving you head? or is she likely to chomp down?
    i'm sure they'll need to know these things as well.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Travelmate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dug View Post
    Any other cultural tips for them.
    I already told them about LM topics.
    Never pat their heads.
    I wonder about that, under what circumstances would you pat a potential business associate on the head on a first meeting??
    Is it acceptable to pat a ho's head while she's giving you head? or is she likely to chomp down?
    i'm sure they'll need to know these things as well.
    Americans like to do it. Instead of a pat on the back, to congratulate them. They pat them on the head.

  25. #25
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    Dont blow your nose in public.

    seriously, go to the bathroom if they have to.

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