Business cards in Korean culture - Seoul Business - 28

Korean culture and Business

In Korea, I experienced a lot of things for the first time. Being introduced to someone and shaking their hand as they hold their hand out, it was a surprise to find a business card thrust into my other hand – on the first meeting, having only just met someone. On one occasion I was introduced to six people for the first time, and instantly I found six business cards in my hand. By that time, I was familiar with the process and I thus I was able to Korean friendsreturn the favour by plonking my own business card, into their hands.

It is surreal the way we are conditioned to accept certain cultural traits in one country and not accept others. At my wedding in Catania, Sicily recently, a Korean friend who calls himself ‘Sky’ in English, was taken aback at the kissing greeting in Italy and he looked very uncomfortable when kissed on both cheeks. In Korea though, he doesn’t flinch an eyebrow when seeing two or three businessmen walking hand in hand along the street. In Italy, men walking hand in hand would most likely be considered to be a homosexual act as in the rest of Europe and in America. The interesting thing though, is that these two actions, which are looked at in very different ways in two different countries, are almost similar in that they are both simply signs of affection by friends in their given country. Holding hands in Korea does not mean the men are gay and men kissing on both sides of the cheek in Italy, does not mean Italian guys are gay.

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