Korea Business Tip – “How Can I Avoid Causing Offense in My Business Communications with Koreans?”

Koreans are generally quite understanding about communications and cultural issues. After all, for historical reasons, Koreans have come to expect that they will have to do more to adjust to other cultures than others will do to adapt to their culture (unlike Americans, for instance!)

However, I’m assuming here that my readers on Korea Business Central are generally interested in making the effort to communicate with Koreans in culturally sensitive ways, and these tips can help you connect with Koreans more effectively in business.

Korean Communication Tips for Business

  1. Do NOT write the names of people in red. Play it safe, and don’t write company names or email addresses in red either.

    For a full explanation of this tip: “Sometimes You Have to Change the Colors in Your Korean Writing”

  2. These are the correct English and Korean terms to use when writing the following locations for a Korean audience:
    • Sea of Japan -> East Sea/동해
    • Yellow Sea -> West Sea/서해
    • Liancourt Rocks -> Dokdo Island/독도
    • South Korea -> Korea or Republic of Korea/한국 or 대한민국
    • North Korea -> North Korea or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/북한

    For a full explanation of this tip: “Use Some Cultural Sensitivity When Writing the Names of Places for a Korean Audience”

  3. Send out New Year’s cards (either the Western New Year, the Korean/Chinese New Year, or both) rather than Christmas cards, and adapt the greeting to Koreans.

    For a full explanation (with lots of Korean greetings you can use): “Use a Korean-Style Holiday Greeting; Don’t Just Translate Your English One”

Additional Resources on KBC and Elsewhere about Being More Culturally Effective with Koreans in Business

** Comments are always welcome. If you have additional insights or come across information here that you disagree with or that needs to be updated — or just want to know something — don’t hesitate to leave a comment and share your opinion/knowledge/question!

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