If you are based outside of Asia and is part of a global operation, you have regular conference calls with your colleagues in Asia. The only possible time to hold a call that includes people from Asia, Middle East/Europe and the Americas is Asia’s evening.
Asian workers know this and great communications is paramount as economic gods favor the nimble. There are however 10 things you should be mindful of which will make you a shining star among your Asian colleagues.
- Please give at least a day’s notice for any scheduling changes. Asians put as much importance in dinners together with the family as any other cultures, if not more. This gives them time to make arrangements with their families.
- Try not to have global conference calls several days in a row. Asians tend not to refuse evening calls and you’ll end up killing their productivity during the day by wearing them out.
- Please have an agenda and stick to it. Try to wrap up the call as soon as possible.
- Please send a summary outline afterwards that help them recall the action points in the morning. (Better yet, provide call recordings along with the outlines so they can go back to the parts they missed. It’s tough to focus especially when they do calls from home.)
- Please keep the socialising to a minimum. It’s not very engaging sitting on a call at 9pm listening to your colleagues bantering about last night’s game for 5 mins.
- Please don’t have calls on Friday.
- Please allow for longer pauses. Asians in general are taught to be careful about what they say. Those who work for international companies know to speak up more but they will still appreciate more time to think before they speak. If you go too fast you will miss out on some important ideas!
- Make sure the call is important enough. Is this a call you would have sacrificed your evening for?
- Do some evening calls yourself. Unless the Middle East and/or London needs to be in, consider doing some calls in Asia mornings (America evenings) just to share the pain.
- Be appreciative of the extra time they spent and the dedication they showed, thank them on every call.
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