Sunday, November 25, 2007

Time in the Philippines

The pace of doing business in the Philippines is casual and leisurely, to say the least. Things usually unfold at a snail's pace that can be downright excruciating for the results-oriented Westerner. However, it has been like that here for centuries and current trends toward Westernized modes of business interaction have yet to make a significant dent in long-established custom. If you aren't a patient person, it might be a good idea to practice deep breathing and mental imagery; getting upset about it is probably going to be counterproductive.
The pace and content of meetings is different than Westerners are used to. There may be several minutes of small talk before getting down to business (about the stock market, basketball, the latest flap at MalacaƱang, whatever). People like to hang around afterwards for more of the same, even if the meeting itself has been tense. It would be impolite to hop up and immediately take your leave, even if you're running late for another meeting or you've just lost a difficult negotiation. Mend fences, leave with a smile and hearty farewell, and return to do battle another day.
I guess we Americans must understand that taking your time with small talk and such during business meetings in the Philippines is much the same as in Arab and other countries. I guess we just need to learn to slow down a bit. If anyone has more information please let us know. Thank you :)

No comments: