It is important to remember that the business culture in the majority of Asian countries is far less adaptable than ours. In our home country, you can have a relationship with someone turn sour, but fix it quickly. You can have a disagreement with a partner or customer, but generally you will be able to sort things out and move on relatively easily.

In my experience, this does not happen in Asia. It is not advisable to have meetings when you are all charged up. You have got to be very careful, keep an even temper and behave consistently without too much emotion. I am generalising, but Asians do not like conflict. You have to keep a very even temper at all times.

Consistency of behaviour is a key ingredient when it comes to building relationships with your Asian partners. There needs to be consistency with contact and with all forms of communication. It is only once this consistency is in place that you really will start to make real strides with your Asian business ventures.

When things are going well, this model of patience may seem to be a waste of valuable time. However when difficulties in your Asian business dealings arise, you learn why a relationship built carefully is so vital. These difficult times can be sorted out if there is strong relationship and strong trust.

Some western businesses may stereotype Asian business people as being difficult to deal with. It is important to remember that the Asians you are doing business are likely to have the same stereotypes about you. So you can stand out from the crowd by adapting to the expectations of Asian business partners.