Crash Course: Chinese Culture & Business Etiquette

Course Description:

Designed for corporate professionals doing business with the Chinese, this crash course provides executives with a business focused overview of Chinese culture and language and will help participants interact more confidently, build rapport and strengthen relationships with potential business partners and/or clients.

This course is composed of two parts: (1) 3 sessions focusing on practicalities and cultural nuances relevant to doing business with China, as well as the essence of Chinese culture, values, and language that build a good foundation to understand China and Chinese business partners in general; (2) 2 sessions of Chinese language workshops to develop essential language skills particularly useful in business settings and for workplaces.

Course Structure:

Oct. 10 | 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.

Oct. 17 | 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, 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.

Oct. 24 | 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.

*No class on October 31

Nov. 7 | Session 4: Basic Spoken Chinese – Essential communication skills (1)
This session will focus on essential language skills for communications in relevant to business settings, covering the foundations 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.

Nov. 14 | 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.

Class dates for the first series (Upcoming series to be scheduled in Spring):
Registration Deadline: October 5th, 2017
Oct. 10, 17, 24 & Nov. 7, 14
Class meets every Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$500(member) /$550 (non-member) for the first 3 sessions
$700(member) /$750 (non-member) for the entire series including language workshops

Speakers Bios (listed alphabetically):

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.

Pen-Pen Chen, M.S. CCC-SLP is an internationally recognized author and highly sought-after speaker and cross-cultural communication expert. Ms. Chen is the President and CEO of Penguistics Solutions, LLC, a boutique cultural intelligence and educational consultancy with clients that have included Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, Hollywood film producers, The New York Times, United Nations, 2008 Beijing Olympics, TED, Columbia University, Juilliard Global Ventures, CET Academic Programs, and Bang Cookies. Ms. Chen received her M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology from Columbia University, Teachers College, her M.A. in Chinese Language Pedagogy from Middlebury College, and her B.A. in Linguistics and East Asian Studies from Bryn Mawr College. She is also a proud graduate of the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese American Studies. Ms. Chen was named a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and is also a professional voice-over artist.

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).

Have a question? Please contact us at: [email protected] or (212)-744-8181, ext. 150

Not ready to register? Join the Waiting List!


Every Tuesday
6:30 - 8:30pm
Instructor: Ben Wang, Carl Chen, Lan Yang, Shenzhan Liao (Subject to change)