Chinese Culture & Business Etiquette

Class meets every Tuesday, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 & Nov. 7 (5 sessions total)
$700 (member) / $750 (non-member)

Ben Wang, Carl Chen, Lan Yang, Shenzhan Liao
(Speakers are subject to change)

Course Description

Cross-cultural communication is critical to establish trust while doing business with the Chinese. The ability to speak important phrases in Chinese can generate good will while building a professional relationship.

Designed for corporate professionals to better understand the essence of Chinese culture, values, language and practicalities relevant to doing business with China, this 5- session crash course effectively builds a good foundation to understand China and Chinese business partners in general. The course is composed of two parts: (1) Lectures/seminars on Chinese culture and business etiquette, with a focus on cultural differences: DOs and DON’Ts, business relationships, rank and seniority in China, gifts and presents, banquet protocols, etc.; (2) An overall understanding of Chinese language and essential skills particularly useful in business settings and for workplace.

Session 1: Chinese Business Etiquette
To address business practices and behaviors in the context of Chinese culture, this session covers topics focusing on practicalities including tips for building business relationships, importance of rank and seniority in China, gift giving, banquet protocols, sensitive political topics recommended to avoid, etc.

Session 2: Understanding China: A Beginning for Contextualization
This session presents an overview of China’s history, values and culture from ancient times to the present, by highlighting elements most relevant for business professionals when encountering Chinese people. The presentation will be supplemented by images, suggested readings and a brief Q&A.

Session 3: Chinese Language: A Way to the Heart of Chinese
This session is for participants to appreciate the sounds and tones of Chinese language, as well as the artistic and ingenious features of the written characters: living images of the Chinese culture, which enables one to grasp the way to the heart of the culture and people of China.

Session 4: Basic Spoken Chinese – Essential communication skills (1)
This session will focus on essential language skills for communications in relevant business settings, covering the foundation of Chinese pronunciation system and useful languages in meeting and conversing with fellow Chinese colleagues, helpful ice-breakers in Chinese for business settings (in meetings, at lunch and dinner tables, etc.), and basics for daily conversations.

Session 5: Basic Spoken Chinese – Essential communication skills (2)
Preparing a trip to China? This session is a good start. For functional purposes, participants will learn useful expressions for daily use such as greetings and proper terms of address, self-introduction, asking for directions, shopping, and dining, among many others. They will also learn how to read simple Chinese characters and recognize public signs. Some of the most recent trends such as Didi taxi (滴滴打车), Wechat pay(微信支付), bike sharing system(共享单车), etc. will be included in this session too.

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Bios of speakers:

Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities at China Institute, Co-Chair of the Renwen Society of China Institute, and Instructor of Chinese at the United Nations Language Program. An award-winning published translator, Ben Wang has taught and lectured on the Chinese language, calligraphy, and classical Chinese literature at Yale, Columbia, Barnard, Williams, U.C. Berkeley, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, ABC Nightline, the BBC, among other academic and cultural institutions. Ben Wang taught Chinese and translation at Columbia University and New York University between 1969 and 1991.

Carl Chen, senior lecturer in the Adult Language and Studio Programs at China Institute. With years of experiences in finance and travel industries, Mr. Chen has taught a wide range of Chinese language and culture classes at all levels. Mr. Chen has led many short courses and workshops at China Institute, including Business Chinese, Chinese Culture and Business Etiquette, and Essential Chinese for Travelers. He also brings to a number of corporates customized workshops on Chinese business etiquette and Chinses cultures underlying the special business norms. In addition, Mr. Chen serves as an interpreter for government interviews, international conferences and trade talks.

Lan Yang is a senior language instructor with China Institute since 2010 and an adjunct faculty at Pace University. A certified New York State Chinese teacher, Ms. Yang holds a MSED in Literacy Education from Queens College, City University of New York, and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) certificates in Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Written Proficiency Test (WPT).

Shenzhan Liao, Director of Education; Director of School of Chinese Studies at China Institute. With graduate degrees in anthropology and education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and Beijing Normal University, Ms. Liao has spent the past decade working extensively with K-12 schools, universities, governmental agencies and private institutions in U.S. and China, teaching and developing programs for cross-cultural understandings between U.S. and China. Ms. Liao was interviewed by New York Times, FM Magazine, and other local NY media to provide publicly accessible information on Chinese culture, and frequently speaks at national and international conferences about Chinese culture, education and language.