If you are planning on conducting business in the nation of Afghanistan, there are a few cultural considerations that you need to keep firmly in mind. Afghanistan is a nation with a very long and proud history. Despite the turmoil that has gripped this ancient and historic country for the past several decades, the native citizens that you meet can be expected to show a firm belief and pride in their own traditions and customs. It is well that you adjust your professional demeanor to put your new acquaintances at ease.
Pay Special Attention To Any Business Card You Are Handed
To begin with, you should note that the age old Western custom of giving out professional business cards for purposes of networking is a relatively unknown practice in Afghanistan. Although it is not completely unknown to most modern business professionals, it is still a bit of a celebrated occasion, and should be taken with extreme seriousness and even ceremony.
If you hand out a business card to a new contact, you will notice that they may well take a few moments to silently study all of the information printed on it before they put it away in their pocket. If you should receive a business card from an Afghan, you should observe this same custom, and also take the time to ask a few relevant questions concerning the information you find there. This is an excellent way of building confidence and trust with the person you are dealing with.
Business Dealings In Afghanistan Are Conducted On A Very Personal Level
Another thing that you should take due notice of when doing business with individuals or corporations in Afghanistan is the fact that such dealings are normally conducted on a much more personal (meaning face to face) level than is normally the case in the Western world. If you are meeting with a representative of a native Afghan company for the first time, you will first need to establish a comfortable level of trust and familiarity with that person.
While in the West, such meetings are usually initiated through means of Skype or some other long distance interactive program, the technological infrastructure in Afghanistan is still at too rudimentary a level to permit such dealings. Although the country has made great progress with such developments as the Afghan Wireless 3g , you should still count on a face to face meeting at a cafe or night club as your introduction to the company you desire to do business with.
Business Meetings Are Less Rigorously Structured In Afghanistan
Another fact that may surprise you at first is that business meetings are less rigorously structured than in most Western countries. Meeting times are somewhat fluid and, when all participants are finally assembled, the topic of the meeting itself will usually concern actions that have already been decided upon, rather than an attempt to formulate a new policy. Keep this and other considerations in mind when you visit Afghanistan, and your trip should be enlightening and productive.