Business Etiquette

Greeting – Myanmar has a culture of hospitality. The traditional greeting in Myanmar is a bow whilst placing both hands on your stomach. Exchanging gifts and favors is a part of the first rituals of getting to know each other. If you’re coming from your home country, a local product is always a good gift. Handshakes are common in Myanmar business culture. It is a good custom to address people by their honorific title and full name. In Myanmar ‘U’ and ‘Daw’ are used as equivalents of ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Ms.’. Exchanging business cards is also common. It is also good to bow to women.

 

Dress Code – Due to the hot and often humid climate in Myanmar, dress tends more towards casual. They have a fairly conservative culture so women must avoid revealing or tight clothing.

 

Body Language – The Burmese have strong feelings about the head and feet. The head is considered holy hence touching other people’s head is considered disrespect. You must make sure your feet don’t point to or touch objects with them. Instead, you should tuck them under yourself while sitting on the ground or floor. Folding one’s arms whilst talking to another person acts as a sign of respect.

 

Communication- Speak gently and softly regardless of the nature of the conversation. Punctuating their sentences with laughter is often done to diffuse awkwardness. The Burmese are indirect communicators hence you must be subtle and discreet about their opinions.

 

Things to avoid- You must avoid pointing your finger as it acts as a sign of disrespect. You must never push a Burmese person to talk about politics, as they might feel uncomfortable discussing their opinions. Patience is the key when dealing with Burmese, thus avoid raising your voice or losing your temper. Avoid wearing your shoes in firm offices as some might take offence to it.

 

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