Divided Unity

When talking about meetings in the Netherlands people tend to think about a continuous flow of opinions and the exchange of thoughts about specific subjects. People have meetings to ventilate their own viewpoint, to inform one another about processes or to endorse each other with comments and suggestions. 

The Chinese meeting culture operates somewhat differently. A meeting is often a one-sided flow of information, a top-down briefing from the management and an instruction for the work floor. The lively interaction and brainstorming sessions will occur sporadically in Chinese organizations.  

When you, as a Western enterprise, join a Chinese organization at the meeting table, you are expected to demonstrate unity. When having an appointment with your Chinese partner it is important that you refrain from giving a presentation containing numerous diverging opinions of colleagues, or what is even worse: open discussions. The key is to come across as univocally strong and powerful. 

During initial meetings it is recommendable to allot one speaker and only let your fellow colleague-expert to contribute where particular divisions or specific technical aspects are concerned.