Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for JORDAN

Posted on February 14, 2014 by

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: JORDAN Jordan

The article series ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos’ is a brief synopsis of conversation guidelines, tips for successful communication, and some strategies for business that will help increase your understanding of different cultures. Keep in mind that we are homogenizing as a “global culture”, and as we change and evolve these cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step!

Being on time for appointments is one thing that Jordanians admire in westerners, so it is helpful for you to do so. However, it is typical of Jordanians to be around a half hour late.

During the month of Ramadan, business hours are shortened and work ends about two or three in the afternoon.

Jordanians normally mix personal conversation with business. A little personal conversation will help with rapport and relationship building.

A loud voice may be considered domineering so don’t speak overly loud. Jordanians can be emotional in their conversation so show some emotion, just don’t raise your voice too much when you do.

It is quite normal to talk about money, wages, how and how much you pay for things, or how old you are. However, it is considered impolite to discuss your relationship with your spouse.

Compliment giving is like entertainment, a source of pride, and done with good sportsmanship. Giving compliments is an important part of relationship building.

Avoid all derogatory humor, even with friends. Personal put-downs, criticism and sarcasm are not well accepted.

Avoid making comments on current political events. The perspectives of the east and the west can be very divisive.

Honor is very important in the Jordanian culture. Questioning the honor of someone is a sure way to destroy the relationship.

Lots of titles are used in Jordan. Social standing is based on the level of education, age, military rank, tribal position, and political office.

Negotiating a deal is one of the things Jordanians love most. It is like a sport and they thoroughly enjoy it, so have fun with it! One of their mottos is, “Everything is always negotiable”.

Your first meeting should start with full introductions and the exchange of business cards. Every other meeting should also include formal greetings. This is an important part of relationship building and the foundation of business.

Business moves at different speeds, it can be quite slow or move quickly depending on the situation. Excessive stalling is a polite way of saying that there is no interest in continuing the business discussion.

Jordanians stand closer than most westerners are used to, so stand about half the distance apart as you typically would in western cultures.

Patting or holding the arm or shoulder can be a sign of affection, acceptance, or an offer of assistance.

Holding hands indicates emotional attachment and is appropriate among good friends or relatives of the same sex.

5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation

  • Sincere personal compliments
  • Praising the Jordanian hospitality
  • Social conversation on topics of mutual interest and vision
  • History, language, culture, art, music
  • Sports, especially soccer which they call ‘football’

5 Keys Topics to Avoid in Conversation

  • Current events and politics
  • Religious preferences
  • Eastern versus western philosophies
  • Anything that negatively affects personal honor and pride
  • Criticism of any type

Bon Voyage!

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Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for JORDAN

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Article archive for what you missed! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton, for your next meeting or conference to help you or your company become more successful in today’s global business marketplace. Gayle is the author of the bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’ and President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. Her vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire audiences of any size with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications and social business etiquette! Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland as a distinguished professional keynote speaker.

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