Business Etiquette

Greeting –Laos people should be addressed by their first names, preceded by the title Mr. or Madame. If they occupy position of respect, “Than” used to address them. While handshakes are used, people also clasp their two hands and take a bow. Distributing business cards is encouraged. Different types of smiles are used to indicate embarrassment, frustration or happiness. Give appropriate gifts in preferably red, green or woven designed wrapping paper.

Dress Code – In Laos culture, business attire is less formal. Men wear a shirt or lightweight suit and Women wear long skirts, a blouse or sleeveless top.

The men are dressed in shirts, tailored pants and matching ties while the women are expected to wear conservative blouses, pants or skirts. Jeans and casual wear are considered a big faux pas.

Body Language – For Lao, the head is the most sacred part of the body. Touching one’s head is considered a taboo. One should sit in a way that the soles of one foot are never pointed at another person.

Communication- Yes, does not always men yes, as non-confrontational tactics are the norm. Allow small talk before proceeding to business discussion. Remain conservative in discussing sexuality and political views. People appreciate the sincere efforts of others to speak their language even if mispronounced. They downplay personal achievements and contributions. An arm’s length distance while conversing is advised.

Location – In Laos, social activities such as eating dinner or playing golf are used to help create a level of mutual trust and understanding between business partners.

Things to avoid- Public body contact should be avoided. Avoid pointing instead use entire palm for it. Avoid disrespecting Buddhist statues or iconography

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