Meetings are considered very formal in Vietnam. It is not common to commit to meeting a long time in advance. In Vietnam the meeting will be confirmed at most one week prior to the appointment.
It may make it difficult for you planning a trip but it is a reality in Vietnam. You should reconfirm your meeting one or two days ahead. You also should contact with your partner first to get a list of participants and their ranks so you know who you will talk with. Vice versa send your representatives before the meeting.
You will be led into a meeting room in which the Vietnamese are already present. Your team leader should enter first. And after greeting by making handshaking, your team will be invited for sitting across a table, leaders opposite each other and others seated in descending order of importance.
Small talk will come first. Business is addressed once people feel comfortable with each other. The head of the host team will deliver a short welcome speech, and then turn the floor over to the visitors. Your senior team member should speak for your company; avoid conflicting statements from other team members. When talking, your spokesman should address the senior Vietnamese representative. Vietnamese prefer to hear a proposal as a broad overview, and then respond to specific issues or questions point by point.
Business cards are a common opening to business meetings. It is very impressive if you prepare the business card which has two sides, one has your own language and the other translated into Vietnamese. Because it is a little bit difficult for you and your partner to distinguish foreign people so a very important point is you should put your picture into the business card. Business cards should be handed to all those attending a meeting because it is sometimes difficult to discern who the important players are and who will play what role in the future. Generally, a business card should be handed to the most senior person first. Cards should be presented with two hands to very important officials, but for all others there is no required etiquette.
By reading your hosts’ cards carefully, you can show respect and clarify the function of the person with whom you are speaking. Don’t disregard the cards or shove them in your pocket. Basically, treat them with respect but don’t obsess over them. In the case of large delegations, the exchange of cards may only take place between the most senior representatives. Other members of the group can exchange cards after the meeting is complete.