In which countries should you avoid saying "no" in business meetings?


Quick Answer

In India and China, businessmen and women might give vague responses to a proposal they wish to decline instead of outright saying "no." Each individual existing within a specific culture is likely to have his or her own personal approach to etiquette, but in general, Western businesspeople may want to avoid being direct with rejection in meetings with Indian and Chinese businesspeople, especially if these people are not well known to the Western business team.

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Full Answer

American and many other Western businesspeople may generally tend to prefer straightforward responses to proposals in business contexts, but cultural sensitivity is important when conducting international business. Chinese and Indian businesspeople may offer modest responses such as "we'll see," "I will try" or "possibly." It's a good idea for an American businessperson interacting with Chinese or Indian colleagues to adopt this position until it's proven that they should act otherwise without suffering negative consequences. Those who prefer direct answers may damage relationships with foreign businesspeople if they try to force a "no" out of someone from a culture where that kind of unambiguous rejection isn't favored.

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