A Chinese friend just started working and soon a fund manager met to have dinner. After several appointments, I finally succeeded, but after dinner, the fund manager couldn’t wait to call her husband: “I’m done here. I’ll be home soon.” My friends are guilty.
Friends have made a taboo: in the United States, at least in New York, in general, you don’t have one-on-one work dinners, not to mention the first time you meet.
This is a far cry from China. Business meetings in China, especially for the first time, were mostly carried out at the dinner table. When we understate the words “When do you have a meal together?”, everyone knows that it means a dinner that lasts two or three hours. But when Americans politely say “when do you get together,” it means drinking a cup of coffee together, drinking a glass of wine after work, and eating an hour or so of breakfast or lunch.
Eric Ouben of the Lightspeed Venture Capital Fund said that it would be rude or even unfair to eat business breakfasts in China because few Chinese are willing to get up early in the morning. When he is used to getting up early, when he is on a business trip in China, he still has to eat a business breakfast in order to make full use of his time, but most of them are job interviews. A job-seeker is generally not too early to get up early.
Jack Perkowski, who has been doing business in China since 1992, also said that he has had countless great business dinners in China, but he does not remember having breakfast with the Chinese.
In New York, it’s normal to rush to a place at seven or eight in the morning to have breakfast at a major company executive. Everyone just clicked on something, and after a brief briefing, they went straight to the subject, and there was nothing wrong with getting up and going. You can even tell the other party that you only have half an hour or an hour before you are seated. Your efforts to meet yourself are a sign of sincerity, and what remains to be discussed can be communicated by phone or by other means.
The so-called strength lunch, that is, the powerful people to eat in a few high-end restaurants every day, mainly to talk about work and relationship with a heavyweight. In fact, lunch is the most popular form of business meal here, with or without power. If you look at Wall Street and Midtown Manhattan where financial institutions are gathering, you know that the restaurants in and around the office are doing lunch business. You can exchange the company’s gossip with your colleagues through lunch, talk to your boss about the work plan, and talk to the client about business. It is not the most important thing to do good or bad restaurant food. Anyway, everyone is a plate of salad or a sandwich, and it is speculative to drink coffee. Even if you eat Chinese food, you often call yourself a lot. You won’t call a lot of dishes for two or three hours.
Dinner is the most subtle. My experience is that Americans rarely eat one-on-one work dinners, especially if they are unfamiliar. On the one hand, they are accustomed to separating work from personal life. After work, they are their own time. If they can solve things during the day, they are not willing to stay for dinner. On the other hand, the American family has a heavy family concept. It is a top priority for a married person to go home from work with his family. It is not a social event that can’t be said to be right. No one will be surprised. If you are married and have children, but often participate in the evening group activities will be a bit strange. At least, that’s what I think.
Eric O’Brien said that he would avoid eating business dinners at all costs in the United States, and when he had to go (mostly to make the investment company want to hire the president and executives feel that they are more valued), He always receives an email from his wife that makes him feel guilty: “Your children will miss you this evening.”
In fact, the most important difference between Chinese and American business community attitudes toward business meals is that in the United States, business meals are a continuation of formal meetings, which may play a role in enhancing understanding and trust, but it is not absolutely necessary. The Chinese are more likely to meet outside the office because it allows them to know more about a stranger. Eating is a process of mutual understanding and a form of mutual expression of sincerity, so in which restaurant to eat, how much money will be placed under a magnifying glass to observe.