If you have recently expanded your business to the Philippines or are considering doing so soon, then you likely have many meetings in your immediate future. Meetings are a part of business life in every country, however, navigating the cultural nuances and distinctiveness of intercultural meetings can be tricky.
With a little practice and advice, however, you will be able to make a good impression in front of any audience. Here, we have assembled some pointers and things to keep in mind when planning your next meeting in the Philippines. Covering everything from your choice of meeting room to the cultural norms of your new country, this guide will get you started on the right track.
Let’s jump right in and look at some specific advice on how to conduct meetings in the Philippines.
Choose The Right Room
If you are new to the Philippines, then it is unlikely that you have much knowledge of the local meeting room rental market. At the same time, choosing the right room for your meeting can make or break your chances of success.
While it is generally a safe bet to opt for a meeting room from a premium provider you still must consider the style of room you need to best suit your function. For presentations and corporate events, try a boardroom-style meeting. This can enhance the dignity and professionalism of the occasion in an environment filled with leather chairs, original artwork, and up-to-date telecommunications equipment. If you are meeting with your team to discuss strategy more informally, then a standard meeting room will suffice. Finally, if you are looking for a more intimate setting for a one-on-one meeting or interview, then try a private office.
Choosing the right room and making the best use of a given space will set the stage for impressing your audience.
Filipino Meeting Etiquette
In business meetings in the Philippines, greetings take a highly formal structure. Make sure that you introduce or are introduced to the eldest or most important person first. Then, descend your introductions down the ranks. This shows respect where it is due and following this protocol will demonstrate that you understand your host country’s cultural norms. Handshakes are common, especially in business. It is best to use a person’s title and last name until you get to know them on a more personal basis.
Make sure to plan your meeting well in advance. Arriving on time is highly important as Filipinos generally pay strict attention to time and are punctual. Remember that face-to-face meetings are preferred to email and other impersonal forms of communication.
In negotiations, it can be helpful to know ahead of time that these are often slow processes. The person who is responsible for making big decisions as to whether to invest or buy from your business may not actually attend the meeting. Treat everyone with respect and remain patient in order to maximize your chances of sealing the deal.
Good meetings, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, take preparation to run smoothly. Make sure to rehearse what you have to say and stick to the most salient points that you want your audience to remember. Business attire in the country is generally conservative, so stick to a suit and tie and you should be fine.
Keeping the above points in mind will set your next meeting up for success. Learn more about Filipino business culture and try to learn the language. The more effort you put into showing respect for your new country, the more likely your new potential partners will want to work with you.