The Right Way to Give Someone Your Business Card

Giving out business cards properly is extremely important in China

If you don’t give it out the correct way, it is a sure sign that you are either rude or don’t know what you are doing.

If you do this wrong, your new connection won’t feel that connected.

In my view, it really boils down to paying the proper attention and respect to the person you have just met.

  1. Business cards in China are called name cards or míng piàn.
  2. Give everyone a business card personally. Don’t pass them around.
  3. Get nice business cards and take care of them. Never give out one that is dirty, smudged or wrinkled.  Always have several on hand. You lose a lot of respect if you run out.
  4. Hand the business card to your new connection with both hands.  The type should be facing your new Chinese business partner. Your thumb should be on the top of the card with your first and second finger behind the card.  You should be looking at them but not staring them down.   Think of it as offering your full but polite attention to the person.
  5. When they take your card, nod your head in a respectful “bow.”
  6. If you are feeling adventurous, you can say “Qǐng Duō Zhǐ Jiào,” which means, please teach me more.  Teach in this case means mentor or guide.

Chinese Business Culture: The Bottomless Cup of Tea

The Culture of Chinese Tea

You may wonder what a bottomless cup of tea is.  First, let’s talk about the chá experience.  We would visit my mother-in-law every Sunday and we would always “yòng chá”. Chinese people enjoy the fragrance and taste of the tea.  They put the chá yè into the chá hū and fill it with boiling water.  They use the first pot to rinse the tea by pour that pot out.  They frequently smell the tea.

Yòng chá is a zen like process that involves talking and sitting.  There aren’t any video games.  The TV might be on, but the volume is typically low and the focus is on one another.

I first ran into the bottomless chá bēi at my mother-in-law’s .  We had gone over for a visit on a Sunday.  We made tea (pào chá).  When it was time to leave, I emptied my chá bēi be polite.  Before I could stand up the chá bēi was full again.  I quickly finished that and said, “That is wonderful, but I can’t drink anymore.”  My host gave me a confused look and clearly wanted to dào chá.

My wife explained my mistake to me on the way home.  Polite hosts will always fill your cup.  They might even pào chá.  When you are done, it is okay and polite to simply stop drinking.  When you walk away the cup will be full and cold.

Basic Tea Phrases – chá jù

Tea – chá

Make tea – pào chá

Drink tea – hē chá

A more polite way to say drink tea – yòng chá

Pour tea – dào chá

Leaves – chá yè

Pot – chá hū

Cup – chá bēi


A great place to learn about Chinese tea traditions in Denver is Seven Cups Denver Tea Shop. has information on the Chinese Tea Ceremony.

The Second Most Important Business Language is…

Mandarin Chinese and That is One Reason You Should Learn!

An article, published on on August 30, 2011, discussed the advantages of speaking the local language when doing business there.

“Speaking the language confers a huge advantage for anyone who wants to do business in a non-English-speaking country,” he said. “It gives you flexibility, knowledge that you need, and personal connections that can make a difference in the speed and effectiveness of your negotiations.” – Leigh Hafrey, a senior lecturer in communications and ethics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.


So why learn Mandarin Chinese?

The article tells us:

Mandarin, spoken by 845 million people, scored highest in a ranking of languages, excluding English, based on business usefulness. The ranking scored languages according to the number of speakers, number of countries where the language is official, along with those nations’ populations, financial power, educational and literacy rates, and related measures.


But Mandarin is hard!

Actually, learning Mandarin Chinese is not that hard.  Yes, there are a lot of characters, but you don’t need to know that many and you certainly don’t need to know them all. Yes there are tones and they change the meaning, but almost all of the time, the meaning of a word is clear from the context.  As one of our student’s found out, you don’t need to master the language to reap the benefits:

Nonetheless, I found very quickly that, even with the most rudimentary Mandarin skills, my understanding of culture, custom and conversation, and my relationships with friends and partners in China improved exponentially.  – Geoff O’Keeffe, Vice-President, Global Sourcing, American Recreation Products, Boulder, Colorado, USA


Learning at a University is Boring

I took German at a University.  It wasn’t horribly boring, but the classes were large and moved at the pace of a University.  I learned what I did because I studied really, really hard.  I didn’t get a ton out of the classes and the instructor certainly didn’t push me every week.


Learn Mandarin Chinese in a Small Group Environment

Our school is located in Broomfield, Colorado.  Our group classes are reasonable in terms of cost and range in size from 4 to 6 students.  If you want to maximize your progress and have the complete attention of the instructor, you can take private lessons.  You will learn Mandarin from a trained, experienced instructor who is also a native speaker.  We offer a Free Introductory Class if you contact us here.


Why You Should Learn Mandarin Chinese

Learn Mandarin Chinese!

There are so many reasons that it’s hard to list them all.  There are even more reasons for someone doing business in China or Taiwan to learn Mandarin.  You see these reasons on the news. 1.1 Billion people (with a capital B) speak Mandarin.

There are significant reasons that you don’t hear about.

It’s not that hard.

Contrary to common perception, it is just not that hard.  Yes, the first few classes are difficult. You must learn new sounds and how to make them.  You learn the new phonetics and the tones.  This takes a few hours.  After that, your ability will skyrocket and it takes about 15 minutes a day of practice with one class a week that lasts one hour to 90 minutes.

The grammar is easy.  Especially early on.

There is no case.  You don’t say “I gave him…” You say, “I gave he.”  Learning the grammar is a step by step process.  It takes time and some of the grammar is difficult to understand, but it is a LOT easier than German in my opinion.

Writing is memorization but while there are many characters, there are common pieces of characters called radicals.  You put radicals together and you get a word. The radicals even offer hints to the meaning of the word.

Learning Mandarin Makes You Competitive

Even some basic knowledge gives you a step up over your competition.  Chinese people typically don’t expect you to learn to speak Mandarin.  When they discover that you speak even very basic Mandarin, they are pleasantly surprised. In their eyes it shows you are serious about China and doing business in China.

Broaden Your Horizons

Understanding the language helps you understand the culture.  You miss so much when everything is translated.  They can translate the words and explain the culture behind the conversation, but you just can’t keep up.  If you understand half of what is said, you will develop a much clearer understanding of the culture.