How to dress for a business meeting in Malaysia?

How to greet or address a professional in Malaysia?

  • The greeting expected depends on factors such as nationality, age, gender, education, and ethnicity. However, most Malaysians are modern recently.
  • You must be formal and respectful in your approach.
  • Introduce the senior-most person first.
  • Indians and ethnic Malays are okay with shaking a woman’s hand. However, wait for her to initiate the process.
  • Chinese people lower their gaze to convey respect.
  • Titles are very important. Chinese use in along with family names while the rest use it along with first names.

What is the etiquette for a business meeting in Malaysia?

  • Let your topmost person enter the room first to greet his counterpart. This will show respect towards the power positioning.
  • Usually, persons of the same rank will sit next to each other. Seating arrangement may be in descending order of rank.
  • A small lecture meant for welcoming will be given.
  • Before work is discussed, there will be loads of light-hearted talk.
  • Meetings may stretch out to lunch as well.
  • Do not display negative emotions in public and respect others.
  • The first meeting will be formal in approach. During the first few meetings, not much business will be discussed. Instead, the time will be used to gain knowledge about each other.
  • Business cards are exchanged after introductions. If possible, get one side printed in Chinese in gold letterings if meeting the Chinese. In case you are meeting officials, it will be a good idea to print one side in Bahasa Malaysia.
  • Make use of your right hand only while offering cards. When you receive someone else’s card, read it thoroughly before putting it away. It’s important to respect one’s business card. Don’t write on the card.

What is the proper way to communicate in Malaysia?

  • Respect silence and don’t talk endlessly. Don’t talk others silence as awkwardness.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal behaviour in a conversation. Some things which cannot be stated bluntly are said in the form of symbols and signs.
  • Be diplomatic while talking and don’t make statements without ado.
  • Don’t take ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ literally. They may say so to avoid embarrassment.
  • Don’t ask questions with definite answers like ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Give lots of physical space to the other while talking. 


Also Read: Customs followed in Malaysia

Last update on February 2, 12:55 pm by Nidhi S.