ngaging with Counterparts at Social Gatherings in Korea
(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)
"When somebody's visiting from another country or somebody from let's say an American corporation comes in, they'll have these giant meats and grills and stuff like that, and it's the place where you sort of take that mask off and you can be honest. That's one setting that I think anybody, be it in the officer corps in the United States or even at the diplomatic level, really has to take advantage of. It's not in the office setting, but we can take the mask off and sort of engage with soju, with the meat and stuff like that. That's the—it creates these relationships that are very important.
"When you're an American over there, they're going to view you as a guest, and so when these moments come up—and they will come up, especially if it's high-ranking personnel coming in—really, despite the amounts of soju that are on the table, really take advantage to convey and express your appreciation for that. And those connections go a long way, much deeper than I've seen in this—and I'm an American; I grew up here, I understand all that, but when you're in the situation, just be cognizant of, even though you may be drinking and having something to eat—and it's some of the best food you'll have in your life—it's still, in a way, you're still at work."
A subject matter expert discusses engaging with counterparts at social gatherings.