South Korea: Appointment Alert!


Making appointments

South Korean businesspeople, particularly top executives, are extremely busy and their crowded schedules may cause them to be a few minutes late for appointments. Do not express anger or annoyance if your contact is late for an appointment. Business travelers, however, should always arrive on time. Traffic is often a cause for delay.

The best times for business meetings are usually 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Prior appointments are necessary. However, depending on a relationship, a meeting can be set up on a short notice. Business dinner and lunch are common, and meetings may take place in a hotel coffee shop/restaurants.

Many Korean businesspeople take a one week vacation from mid-July to mid-August, so avoid trying to schedule appointments at this time of the year. Other inconvenient times include major holidays like the Lunar New Year [in Jan or Feb] and the Moon Festival [in Sep or Oct]. Check a Korean calendar for their holidays. Lunar dates change annually.

Generally, business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Korean corporations are in the process of implementing a five day week. However, some offices are still open on Saturday.

When entering a group meeting, the senior member of your party should enter the conference room first, then the next highest ranking person, and so on. Moreover, the Koreans will be seated according to their rank. If you aren’t sure how to seat Korean guests or where to sit yourself, ask your Korean counterparts.

Punctuality is expected at social events.

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