Issuu on Google+

The ‘No’ Word - Chinese problem www.china-business-connect.com @intelligence2a

how doing business with China Company: trainings, step-by-step guides, reports, case studies


The ‘No’ Word - Chinese problem 

One of the greatest frustrations for many foreigners when they begin working in China is the inability for many people to say one simple word:

no.

Teaching your staff and the people around you to say ‘no’ can be hard – especially when we are, after all, in China and saying ‘no’ can sometimes be regarded as impolite in Chinese culture.

China Business Connect: Trainings, Step-by-Step Guides © china-business-connect.com

support@china-business-connect.com www.China-Business-Connect.com


Why is Saying ‘No’ so Difficult? West

China

• Many employees see all the work that is delegated to them as essential – and in many cases feel that they have no choice but to accept it and get on with it. • However, a key priority for any manager is to know that their employees are working to maximise their time – a key to any company’s productivity. • If an employee takes on a task that then prevents them from working on something of a much higher value to the company, this may not be the most effective use of their time – particularly when the task in hand could be completed by someone else who is possibly even more willing.

• In Chinese culture, saying ‘no’ is often regarded as impolite. • Even when some Chinese people say no, they will often respond with indecisive answers like ‘you keneng’ (maybe), a slight nod of the head or ‘bufang biande’ (it’s inconvenient). • The purpose of this cultural conditioning is to maintain harmony and avoid any response that may be considered upsetting. • Unfortunately, in the west, ‘it’s inconvenient’ or ‘maybe’ can often mean ‘yes’. • In addition to this, a common way of saying ‘no’ in China is to raise objections.

China Business Connect: Trainings, Step-by-Step Guides © china-business-connect.com

support@china-business-connect.com www.China-Business-Connect.com


Why is Saying ‘No’ so Difficult? 

A western colleague who proposes a project and hears objections might respond with, they think, reasonable solutions. At the end of a conversation the Westerner might think that the Chinese person is agreeing to take something on, as they have raised no further objections. Likewise, the Chinese may feel that they have made their objections clear and consider the matter closed. This type of miscommunication can quite clearly lead to problems. A clear approach to communication is therefore essential. China Business Connect: Trainings, Step-by-Step Guides © china-business-connect.com

support@china-business-connect.com www.China-Business-Connect.com


more information about China Business Training, free packs and trial version in: www.china-business-connect.com how doing business with China Company: trainings, step-by-step guides, reports, case studies


The ‘No’ Word - Chinese problem