Business Meetings are the first step in doing business in Myanmar. It is where you make your first impression that can lead to good, long lasting business relationships. In Myanmar like all countries, there are specific things that are normal in all meetings. Here are a few things that may be different than what you are used to.
Where Do You Meet?
First off is when you call a meeting you are expected to meet in their office mostly. Meetings can seem more formal than in Western Countries where it is customary to meet over a meal or even a coffee. You’ll most likely meet in the companies meeting room where you will be joined by 1 – 4 people.
What to Wear
Myanmar people always dress up in an office setting. They normally wear business or business casual. Ties are not necessary but sometimes they may wear a jacket. If you want to give off a good impression then following this dress code is a must.
When you arrive to the office, check to see if there are shoes outside the door, then you are expected to take yours off. There also may be a place just inside the door to put your shoes. This is the same protocol for when you enter someone’s home.
In the Meeting
A receptionist will most likely take you to a room for you to wait for your meeting. They will offer water, tea, coffee while you wait. This is customary for meetings. You may ask for the coffee to be black. If you don’t, you will get a super sweet milky coffee. If you have already had 5 cups of coffee that day you can politely decline. If you go to meetings with hotels on the other hand, they will offer you orange juice. I own a tour company as well and I have drunk 7 orange juices in one day. Sugar Rush!
When your meeting host arrives, you will exchange business cards. Look at the card and make sure you understand their position and say their name out loud. It is ok to say it wrong. Just politely ask how they like to be called. They will smile and tell you. When giving your card, you hand it slowly with two hands. Do not slide it or hand quickly as that will seem rude.
Enjoy the meeting and have a fruitful discussion that leads to a long term partnership!