Social & Business Manners

How to give a proper international toast

Dear ladies and gentlemen, raising a glass to toast with people from different countries may seem like a simple celebration. Needless to say, it is more than that. Giving a toast is a cultural experience, it shows whether or not we respect their cultures and values. I propose to review together, don’t lose your face anymore.

United States / Australia / Canada
English: “Cheers”
Most common drinks: Whiskey, beer
Rules:The guest of honour is toasted and should reciprocate by giving a toast of thanks. At more formal gatherings, glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is elicited. Simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying “Cheers.” It is acceptable for women to propose a toast.

To do
– Wait for everyone to be served with a drink and the toast is proposed before drinking.
– In restaurants/ bars, don’t forget that everyone should take a turn to buy a round of drinks.

France
French: “Santé !”, “À votre santé !”, “À la tienne, Etienne ! (“to your health”)
Most common drink: Wine
Rules:Glasses are generally raised as the toast is made and sometimes, clinked together before the first sip is taken.

To do
– After serving you wine, wait until everybody gets theirs and the hosts have given their toast, then drink.
– When toasting others, clink glasses with everybody at the table.
– Filling a wine glass more than halfway.
– When clinking glasses, don’t cross your arm over anybody else’s.
– Don’t drink the last half inch of wine from the bottle, since it contains sediment, and that would be a tragic insult to the quality of the wine.

Germany
German: “Zum Wohl!” , “Prost!” (“goodhealth”)
Most common drink: Beer, sekt
Rules:The host gives the first toast. An honoured guest should return the toast later in the meal.

To do
– You should always touch all the glasses you can reach at your table when someone makes a toast.
– Don’t lose direct eye contact from the time the glass is raised, until it is placed back on the table.

Japan
Japanese: 乾杯” (“Kanpai”= “dry the glass”)
Most common drink: “Nihonshu”(Japanese sake)
Rules:Usually, toasts are only made at the beginning and end of Japanese parties or drinking and dining sessions, usually by the Japanese host. Generally, the most senior person on the hosting side would have the honours.

To do
– If you want to finish drinking, just leave your glass mostly full, that means it’s enough, also stands forfood.
– If someone offers you to refill your glass, quickly finish your drink and represent them with an empty glass,because it’s rude to refill if there is already something in it.
– In return, you should pour the other person’s glass.
– Don’t pour for yourself, there are superstitions that those who pour for themselves are doomed to live many years alone.

Russia
Russian:“zazdarovye” (Заздоровье – “to your health”)
Most common drink: Vodka
Rules:Drinking in Russia is seen as a bonding activity, even in business. It’s a way of building trust and breaking down barriers. The host starts with a toast and the guests reply.

To do
– Begin eating only after somebody says a toast.
– After the toast, clink your glasses together.
– Don’t drink vodka with something fruity, drink it straight.
– Don’t drink until the first toast is offered.
– Don’t clink your glass if it is a non-alcoholic beverage.
– Refusing to drink is unacceptable unless you give a plausible excuse (health, religion).

Thailand
Thai: “Chai Yo”(“Hurray”= “cheers”)
Most common drink: Thai beer and whiskey
Rules: If you find yourself the guest of honour, you’ll probably be expected to sit at the middle of the table rather than at the head. The guest of honour is also usually expected to give a toast at some point. Toasts are often given throughout a drinking session, not just at the start.

To do
– If someone is your senior or of higher status, hold your glass slightly lower and clink low on theirs.
– Top off the glasses of people around you if you fill your own.
– Don’t drain your glass unless you want a refill.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I hope you will have a memorable experience next time when giving an international toast and CHEERS to that! Or should I say À votre santé!

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How to write a hotel review

Dear ladies and gentlemen nowadays people rely more and more on reviews before going to a restaurant or booking a hotel. You may have used tripadvisor, 大众点评 or ctrip to help you. But what if you want to start writing your own, do you know how to do it? What you should write about? I invite you to learn some tips.

Five Ws
Start your review by giving a little introduction about yourself, you don’t need to go too much in details, you can follow the five Ws:
Who: who went to the hotel, was it only you? Were you with your family, your partner, your friends or your colleagues? Also, add the frequency of your travels, it will give to your hotel review more credibility.
Where: give the city and the name of the hotel you stayed in.
When: tell your readers the dates of your trip, if it was during a particular holiday, during the week or during a weekend.
Why: give the reason for your trip (business trip, pleasure…) and why you would recommend or not the place to others.
What: let the readers know about what you did there if you only went there to sleep if you went to the hotel restaurant, the type of room you booked, your first impression of the place, everything related to what you have experienced during your trip.

Set evaluation criteria
If you are a person who travels often to different places, for many reasons and you write review wherever you go, you should set standard criteria you will use to evaluate the tested places and will always use the same for all places you are going to.


Tip: take some notes throughout your stay so you will not forget anything when it’s time to write the review.

Location
People like to know the distance between the hotel and the airport or the station, so you can write about that and also give the amount of money you spent on transportation or taxi to get there. You can be more useful and let the people know about the major attractions near the hotel (shopping, restaurants, dining, nightlife, tourist activities).

Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words. If the website allows you to, give as many pictures as you can to support your review whether you are talking about the wonderful sunset in Greece or the dusty desk when you arrived. Posting pictures will help the readers understand your experience with ease.

Amenities
You can talk about the room you had, the feeling sleeping on the bed, about the pool if it was clean, or you can also discuss the different services provided by the hotel (spa, massage, room service…). You may think they are small details but they can be useful for the people reading you to make their choice.

Staff
And of course don’t forget about the staff in your review, they are also part of your experience. Discuss how courteous and friendly or unhelpful and rude the staff was. Maybe you had a special request and you are satisfied with the way they handled it.

Details
Share your experience of what stood out. Include details of your stay, why you liked or disliked your visit. Give a balanced view, but you don’t need to list every little flaw: the readers want you to focus on facts and give valuable details, they don’t want to read about a list of complaints.

Tone
Write with clarity, confidence and honesty: be objective and fair. Keep in mind that the other traveller may not have been to the hotel, so your review can persuade them to either go or choose another option.
Be careful about the tone you use. If you are angry or upset, you are still writing a review, not a rant.

Tip: when you are done writing your review, take some time to read it back or ask someone to check it. It should be professional, engaging, detailed and free of errors.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, writing a review is not an easy task, just set your own criteria and you will soon find your way of writing. Do you have any other tips to write a nice review? Please share with us.

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Successful Socialising at Workplace

Dear ladies and gentlemen, people often ask us for advice on their successful behaviour at networking events. However, daily networking at your workplace can be very powerful for your career as well. I invite you to discover the power of socialising with your colleagues and 7 tips for your successful implementation at work.

A Harvard University study showed only 15% of the reason why a person gets a job, keeps it, or advances in a job is connected to technical skills and job knowledge meaning things you learned for instance at university. Whereas 85% is related to people skills, which also includes the successful interaction, communication, and socialising with people.


Tip 1
Some of your colleagues may put pictures of their families, children, hobbies, or pets on their desk. While you pass by their desk, it is easy to do the first step and ask them about that picture or thing you see on their desk. For example: “What a beautiful child you have. How old is she?”


Tip 2
Try to find commonalities to easily connect with a person. Maybe you are interested in a specific topic that your colleague is an expert in or you have the same hobby. It can be something you have heard about your colleague which is a good topic to start a small talk. For example: “Hello James, I heard you spent your Chinese New Year skiing in Switzerland. I also did the same. In which area did you ski?”


Tip 3
When you get up from your desk to go and grab new water or tea, challenge yourself to even start a conversation with a colleague who also gets a new drink, but you don’t know yet. You can start by introducing yourself: “Hello, my name is Mr. Wang. I am a software engineer in this department. We haven’t met yet. What do you do?”


Tip 4
When you have a small talk, show your genuine interest in your colleague by asking some open questions, e.g. questions like what, when, why… It will keep the conversation alive and you can build up a connection with this person. Closed questions that can be answered with a short yes or no, make it more difficult to keep the conversation running.


Tip 5
Spend your lunch time by talking to your colleagues. Important is, put your phone down and put your attention on your lunch partners. Encourage your colleagues to talk about themselves again by asking questions and be a good listener. It will help you build up a closer and trustworthy relationship. This conversation will also give your brain and body a good break from your work.


Tip 6
Always try to genuinely help others. Find out about your colleague’s challenges and needs and see how you can help him or her first. It will strengthen your connection.
Tip 7
People love to hear their name. While having a conversation or greeting someone in the hallway, greet them with their name. Throughout a conversation, feel free to repeat their name a few times as well.

I hope you are now well prepared to start socialising more often at your workplace.

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How to introduce other people?

Dear ladies and gentlemen, I am sure you have all faced this situation: you have to introduce a group of people, who do you introduce first? Men or women? Do you introduce by rank, by age or simply introduce them from left to right(or from right to left)?

General rules
Here are few rules in business occasions before we go into the details:
Introduce others to the most important people;
Introduce the lower rank to higher rank;
Same rank, introduce younger ones to older ones;
Same rank, same age, introduce men to women.

Introduce two people
Imagine we need to introduce A and B, A is our client, and B is our colleague, then we need to:

Greet A, introduce B’s name and title
Greet B, introduce A’s name and title
A & B greet each other


Note:Don’t forget to introduce A to B.

Introduce one group of people
What if we need to introduce a group of people? Then we need to make judgments before we introduce them: who is the most important person in this group? If we need to introduce A and B, C, D to each other. A is our client, B, C, D are our colleagues. Then we need to:


Greet A, introduce B, C, D by their ranks (with name & title);
Greet B C D by ranks, and introduce A’s name & title to them;


Note:Greet B, C, D first, and then introduce A to them all together.

Introduce two groups of people
If we need to introduce A&B&C (clients) and D, E, F (colleagues), and we need to know the most important persons in the two groups, then we introduce:


Greet A,B,C by their ranks, introduce D,E,F by ranks;
Introduce D,E,F to A,B,C, with names &titles.


Note:The sequence of introducing a group implies their importance in this meeting.

Now we understand the general rules about introducing people. In reality, things would be much more complicated. And, what if you are going to introduce three groups of people? How to do it properly?

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How to choose business gifts?

Ladies and gentlemen, to choose a business gift is not an easy task during the Chinese New Year, right? Let’s check the following tips that may help you choose an appropriate present in business environment.


1. Keep the goal in mind
Business gift giving is to show appreciation, to remind people of you for business, also a good chance to show gratitude to those who supported you before.


2. Respect corporate guidance
Some companies have very strict policies about what kinds of gifts their employees can receive. If you are not sure if they can accept, check with the HR department first.


3. Evaluate the cost
An extravagant gift can be embarrassing and an inexpensive gift can make you look cheap. Check both side policies about gift standard.

4. Informational due-diligences
You can know your receiver (personality, interests, hobbies, family, etc.) from your previous meetings, for example by previous project or the dialogues during business lunch.


5. Know your receiver’s expectations
You need to know the receiver’s interests, for example what kind of sports or food they like. Thus the gifts you send shall meet their valued standards. You can get help from their assistants if you don’t know them well. If you know them very well, you can send unique presents to impress them.


6. Choose specific gift
Avoid too personal or taboo gifts. Business gift is different from daily gifts, which is more office or work related. Try to avoid perfume, personal beauty products, especially to the opposite gender. Also pay special attention to religion and certain cultural meanings, like yellow rose in Europe or clock in China. You can’t be wrong with sweets, flower, wine, local specialty etc.


Red rose is not suitable in Business occasions

7. Appropriate Presentation
Wrap and display your present in a nice festive way. Meanwhile the logo is understated enough to avoid looking like blatant marketing piece. The package should also contain a wish card with your signature.


8. Be generous about group gifts
When sending group gifts, make sure there is enough for everyone. The New-year season is not the time for complaints.

9. Re-gift with caution
Traditionally re-gifting was not accepted, it’s better not to do it. But if you do it, make sure any original information is removed and the item itself couldn’t be unique. After receiving gifts from others, it’s always better to arrange another gift as well.


10. Say thank you
Don’t forget to thank the person who give you present, either oral, handwritten letters or via email. Handwritten letter in an envelope show better sincerity.

Dear all, do you have any other opinion about business gifting? Welcome to share with us!

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Giving an elegant toast!

Dear ladies and gentlemen, toasting to health, wealth, love, friendship, etc has been practised for many centuries. If you want to acknowledge an event or compliment an important visitor: be sure to know how. Polish your toastings skills with me!
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15 tips for blind dating!

Dear ladies and gentlemen, you may encounter a blind date these days. Your family and friends may arrange one for you or you may find a match on TanTan, Tinder and other apps. How to behave during a blind date? Is it okay to flirt? Should you kiss at the end? Let’s prepare for it together!

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Etiquette for attending balls

Dear ladies and gentlemen, have you ever been to a ball? Do you know the etiquette about balls? Review with us!
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How to deal with awkward situations

Dear ladies and gentlemen, very often we will attend some social events, like formal dinners, cocktail parties etc. However, there are always some unforeseen circumstances that would embarrass everyone. Then what would you do to gracefully remove yourself from such embarrassments?

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How to choose an English name?

Dear ladies and gentleman, pronouncing Chinese names can be tricky and hard for non-native speakers. Therefore, Chinese people usually decide to give themselves or their children anglicised names so it’s easier for them to integrate into Western society. However, do you know what is the best method for choosing the proper name which won’t ashamed you?
Our guide for giving a proper English name is suitable for any English-speaking country, we will use America as an example.
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