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Business Etiquettes in Vietnam

Meeting & Greeting

Handshakes are used upon meeting and departing. Handshakes only usually take place between members of the same sex. Some Vietnamese use a two-handed shake, with the left hand on top of the right wrist. Always wait for a woman to extend her hand. If she does not, bow your head slightly.

Business Meeting

Arriving on time for a meeting is important even though they may not begin exactly on time. Hierarchy is very important in Vietnamese culture, so it is always best to defer to the most senior person in the room when it comes to beginning and guiding conversations.

Periods of silence are considered acceptable and are to be expected. Avoid interrupting, showing displeasure through facial or eye movements and talking over someone.

Business gift giving is fairly common at the end of a meeting or during a meal in honour of your business associates. Gifts should be small but not expensive. Something with your company logo or something typical from your country both make excellent gifts.

Business Negotiation

Vietnamese value relationship building and harmony so avoid hard selling, pressure tactics and any sort of conflict or confrontation. Saving face is paramount. Decisions are usually made by committee or group consensus, although final say tends to come from the top down and can take awhile, so patience is a must.

Vietnamese will avoid using no in answering questions. They tend to say, “maybe”, or “that would be difficult” or even “yes” or “no problem” even if the answer is really no.


For men, conservative colored suits with white shirts and ties. Jackets are not a must but good to have just in case. Being well groomed is appreciated. As for women, conservative skirts, pants, suits, and blouses are appropriate. Avoid short, tight fitting, and sleeveless attire.

Jeans and business casual attire are not recommended but may be appropriate in more rural areas.

Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged on initial meetings and should be presented with both hands. When receiving business cards ensure you show proper respect to it and do not simply glance at it and put it on the table.

It's advisable to have one side of your business card translated into Vietnamese and be sure to present and receive business cards with both hands. Also, never write on or fold a business card you are given.





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