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TVB’s Desmond So launches business etiquette institute

Desmond So (蘇頌輝), the host of TVB Pearl’s lifestyle show Dolce Vita and renown emcee, is trying to utilise his own experience in the law and finance industry to help white-collar business men in China polish their professional image, with a new business etiquette company officially launched yesterday.

Targeting corporates in Greater China, his new workplace etiquette institute EWIAE (East-West Institute of Applied Etiquette), is designed to boost the confidence of business executives when they deal with clients and business partners to ensure a stellar first impression and demonstrate business professionalism and sophistication.

The firm also provides training to international executives who seek to do business in Greater China and who may not have a clear understanding of the customs and cultural nuances particular in the region.

In an interview with Marketing, So said three main groups of businessmen have a lot of room for improvement in terms of workplace etiquette, namely bankers, their clients, and job interviewees.

“We see many common mistakes among executives which have been easily overlooked. For example wearing white socks, lack of eye contact, and inappropriate handshakes. They can damage your first impression given to people and can be fatal to your career.”

“Few companies or managers realize that there are tangible costs to a company’s bottom line as a result of workplace incivility,” said So.

“Poor performance, diminished productivity, and employee attrition are just some of the real consequences that cost companies millions of dollars each year.”

A joint study by Georgetown University and Thunderbird School of Global Management shows 48% of employees reported intentionally decreased woke effort after experiencing incivility in workplaces; wile 78% felt less committed to their employers; 25% admitted to taking out their frustration on customers.

“We are seeing a few trends in today’s globalised marketplace – costs are by and large going down and converging toward a uniform point; companies are no longer competing on price alone; and premium client service experience is what sets companies apart and wins business.

“This is something Asian companies, in particular, cannot afford to ignore.”

He said EWIAE is established with an intent to change the way people perceive Chinese businesses.

“As more and more Chinese enterprises step up to the global stage, build their brands, and form strategic partnerships, executives from these organizations are increasingly under scrutiny to conduct themselves in ways that conform to international standards of etiquette and business protocol.”

“We don’t just teach how to shake hands and make eye contact,” he added.

“We believe in holistically combining customs and best practices from the East and West, by providing etiquette and communications-skills trainings to Greater China business executives and professionals to make sure that they communicate professionally and confidently regardless of what industry they work in.”

So said a three-hour business tutorial had a price tag of HK$1200 per head.

With tailor made services and his own fame in the law, finance, and media industries, don’t expect low tuition fees.

The institute works with major multinational and Chinese organizations from the banking, luxury retail, property, transportation, and public sectors.

EWIAE builds on So’s previously established business “Not Just The Right Fork”, which has been providing business etiquette consulting services in Hong Kong since 2008. The firm will shift and concentrate its focus on providing social etiquette training to children and young adults while EWIAE will exclusively serve the needs of business executives and professionals.

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