Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Chinese businessmen continue to astonish me. Last summer, I went to a big business event in Finland and was surprised by the somewhat inappropriate questions I was asked. Back in China, the behaviour of these men in suits continues to make me wanna go: “what?! Did he just say that?!”
During the last few weeks I’ve been to numerous events, seminars and signing ceremonies where I’ve seen a very non-business-like behaviour. I’m not going to blame all these bored businessmen, speeches that go for more than 5 minutes are boring! But one of the parts you have to play when you’re in your fancy suit is to listen to them still, right? Well at least that’s what I always try to do.
Chinese businessmen, on the other hand, don’t try that hard. Or OK, let’s not generalize, because some really do. Some are great. But then there are the ones that fall asleep, talk on their phone, or use their mobiles to play computer games/ watch movies. That’s a step in a direction that’s too far away from normal business behaviour if you ask me.
I think if you ask them why, their answer would be simple: they’re bored. But what does that mean for future business events in China? Well maybe a new norm needs to be set in order to keep people’s interest?
At the most recent signing ceremony I went to, one of the men (a tall, fairly young guy from northern China) spent most of the speeches chasing me around the room, trying to take my photo. I discreetly tried sneaking away from him, I even spent 10 minutes in the bathroom with a locked door in order to get him to give up, but he was persistent and seemed to enjoy the chase-game. It was just slightly embarrassing when his camera went “click, click, click” (and always with a flash) and people turned around to see what was more important than the mayor’s speech, and saw me, looking uncomfortable and trying to get away from a man in a suit, armed with a camera.
Not blaming him for being bored. Just saying something ought to change.