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Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SWITZERLAND!

Posted on November 25, 2016 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SWITZERLAND – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z switz

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Switzerland is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Switzerland, tips for communicating in Switzerland, and strategies for doing business with Switzerland to help with understanding the culture in Switzerland. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Switzerland and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Switzerland – including some valuable business travel tips for Switzerland!

The culture of Switzerland is made up of four subcultures: the German, French, Italian, and 1% indigenous population who speak Romansch.

The handshake is the most common greeting in Switzerland, and Swiss Germans may shake hands upon both meeting and departing.

The Swiss French and Swiss Italians may shake hands and give you an “air kiss” or an embrace, depending on the rapport they have established with you. Men in either of these regions will embrace close friends, but will not kiss.

When doing business in Switzerland, punctuality is necessary on all occasions, whether business or social. This is especially true in the German speaking areas, where arriving even five minutes late for a business or social engagement can be offensive. The French and Italian speaking areas tend to be slightly more relaxed about time, but punctuality is still the best policy.

Female business travelers should have no problem as long as they remain highly professional, and while many women hold high-level positions, there are still fewer than in some cultures.

The Swiss may initially seem reserved or even standoffish, however once you develop a rapport with them, you’ll find that they are very honest, responsible people, who will be loyal to your interests.

It takes longer to develop personal relationships in Switzerland, however, with time and patience, the bond you establish will prove to be very beneficial.

The Swiss are very private people, so avoid asking personal questions about family, age, marital status, religion etc. unless they bring it up first.

Whether in a social or business situation, the Swiss are polite and pay close attention to what you say to them. They are very good listeners and rarely interrupt.

Although the use of first names in business is becoming more common, initially address your Swiss contact by “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Mrs.” until you are invited the use their first name.

The Swiss are very controlled, so maintain control over your emotions and show a disciplined approach in what you do.

The way you sit, stand, and project yourself are very important. You can expect the Swiss to pay close attention to your posture.

Business is regarded as serious, and humor has little place in discussions. Cracking jokes during a meeting will probably not be well received.

Swiss Germans will usually get right down to business, however, the Swiss French and Swiss Italians will expect some preliminary “small talk” and may even offer you a drink.

Business presentations should be clear and concise, and while the Swiss are very straightforward in negotiations, they make a genuine effort to see matters from the opponent’s perspective.

In the Swiss business culture, there is a reluctance to take risks so they will require substantial information before agreeing to a new plan or procedure.

Typically, the Swiss German and Swiss French rely on empirical evidence and objective facts for evidence, while the Swiss Italians may rely more on subjective feelings.

The Swiss have a reputation for getting the best possible deal without ever appearing aggressive or demanding. Their quiet self-confidence, combined with the exceptional quality and value of their goods and services, allows them to avoid the “hard-sell” or other high-pressure tactics.

Hierarchy and rank is more important in the German-speaking area compared to the French and Italian speaking areas, however individuals with seniority, rank, and authority assume an air of modesty and remain discreet in exercising their power.

The Swiss will not rush to a decision, and while the final decision may come from the top, it is also consensus based in the fact that everyone involved must be accepting of it.

Once a decision is made, the Swiss are very reliable, efficient, and can be trusted to follow through. They are also very good at maintaining confidentiality.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • The Swiss are always interested in world affairs.
  • The natural beauty of Switzerland, and where to visit is an excellent topic.
  • The distinct varieties of foods from the different subcultures.
  • Sports of all kinds, especially all winter sports!
  • The excellent quality of Swiss products, for example watches and chocolate.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • Avoid asking personal questions, or discussing family, unless they bring it up at some point in your relationship.
  • It’s considered impolite to stand and talk with your hands in your pockets.
  • Avoid any form of back patting.
  • Point using your full hand, because pointing with your index finger is considered impolite, or even obscene by some.
  • Don’t be overly demonstrative with body language or tonality or you won’t be taken seriously.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for TAIWAN!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

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Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SWEDEN!

Posted on November 18, 2016 by Leave a comment

swedenThe Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SWEDEN – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Sweden is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Sweden, tips for communicating in Sweden, and strategies for doing business with Sweden to help with understanding the culture in Sweden. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Sweden and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Sweden – including some valuable business travel tips for Sweden!

When doing business in Sweden, keep in mind that it is a humanitarian culture, where the quality of life and environmental issues are highly emphasized.

Swedes prefer to stand a bit further apart in their interactions than some cultures, and rather than relying on nonverbal forms of communication, it’s best to keep your body language and hand gestures to a minimum,

With the exception of the handshake, Swedes don’t have a lot of physical contact, so avoid backslapping, embracing, or touching.

They shake hands upon arriving and departing. It’s done swiftly and firmly, and smiling or other nonverbal communication usually doesn’t accompany it — especially if you haven’t previously met.

The Swedish business approach is more formal than informal, so no gum chewing, slouching, or leaning against things.

Keep your emotions to a minimum, as a cool, calm, and matter of fact manner approach is preferred. Swedes are also somewhat quiet, so speak in a subdued, modulated tone of voice.

Swedes are a proud people, but they never brag. While they respect someone with established knowledge and experience, you should never flaunt it. Instead show them by being well prepared, detail oriented, and logically organized which is important to get Swedes to accept an outside idea.

Facts and figures are crucial, and must be clearly outlined and detailed. Swedes emphasize the content of a presentation, not its colorfulness or flashy appearance.

The Swedish education teaches them to think conceptually and analytically, so they often look to universal rules or laws to solve problems.

The first business meeting will likely be low key, with the Swedes evaluating you, your company, and your proposal. Confirm all meetings well in advance, and never abruptly change the time and place.

Swedes believe in promptness, so it is important to arrive on time or it could be taken as a sign of disrespect or lack of interest. They also strictly follow the scheduled beginning and ending times of a meeting.

Swedes are fashionably well-dressed, and for business a more a conservative dress is appropriate with men wearing suits and ties, and women wearing suits or dresses. Subdued colors are a better choice than flashy colors.

Women and men are treated as equals in Sweden, so expect decision-makers to be of either gender.

Decision making may fall to the middle or lower parts of the hierarchy in Sweden, and there is an emphasis on teamwork and compromise.

Consensus is valued, and Swedes will try to avoid confrontation because they never want to personally offend someone.

Sincerity and seriousness, rather than friendliness, are the preferred business attitudes. Complimenting in public is not usually done, unless it applies to the whole group. There is no individualized element of competition or wanting to stand out.

Swedes typically get right down to business with little or no small talk. In conversation, it’s important to maintain eye contact as much as possible.

Swedes are very comfortable with long pauses and silence in the conversation, so it would be a mistake to hurriedly try to fill in the pauses.

The Swedish sense of humor is unique, and sometimes not understood by everyone. It’s not typical for humor to be used in serious meetings or negotiations.

Swedes will avoid arguing over sensitive topics, especially with visitors. If a discussion of this kind begins, a Swede may abruptly stop it.

Negotiations in Sweden can take time, but once a deal has been finalized and signed, you can rest assured that the Swedes will uphold their end of responsibility

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness.
  • It’s helpful to show a knowledge of Swedish things, especially those that distinguish the Swedes from the Scandinavian cultures of Finland, Norway, and Denmark.
  • The Swedes love nature and the outdoors, so talk about anything related to Sweden’s natural beauty or sports — like hockey and soccer.
  • Swedes enjoy discussing philosophy, the arts, travel, current events, and even politics if it’s not critical of Sweden’s socialized structure.
  • There is a great deal of pride in the local regions of Sweden, so it’s appreciated when you know something about the specific region you’re visiting.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • Asking personal questions, or discussing family unless they bring it up at some point in your relationship.
  • Don’t be superficial in any way, and avoid personally complimenting someone you just met.
  • Avoid any showiness or bragging about rank, status, success, or income. The Swedes are very understated about this.
  • Don’t use a lot of superlatives when speaking, because Swedes are opposed to stretching the truth in any way.
  • Swedes don’t like complainers, so even when things seem slow or process driven, it’s best not to show signs of impatience.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for Switzerland!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SPAIN!

Posted on October 7, 2016 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SPAIN – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries

from A to Z spain

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Spain is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Spain, tips for communicating in Spain, and strategies for doing business with Spain to help with understanding the culture in Spain. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Spain and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Spain – including some valuable business travel tips for Spain!

When doing business in Spain, keep in mind that many businesses are closed from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, since people often return home to have their main meal with their family and take an afternoon siesta

Although you should be punctual yourself, don’t be alarmed if you are kept waiting for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In addition, parties and other social events rarely begin at their scheduled time.

A wide range of gestures regularly accompany conversation. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have difficulty understanding these gestures, especially since the meanings often vary from region to region.

Be sensitive to regional differences because making misinformed comments about a Spaniard’s region of origin is considered an insult (for example, mistaking a Catalonian for a Basque).

First-time introductions with Spaniards should be made in a formal manner. Extend a brief but firm handshake while maintaining eye contact.

In the company of friends, it’s common for men to hug or pat each other on the back in addition to the handshake.

Women sometimes lightly embrace, then touch cheeks while lightly kissing the air. They may also greet a Spanish man who is a particularly close friend in this way.

Although there may be less Spanish women in management positions, businesswomen in Spain are treated with respect, as long as you dress and behave in a professional manner.

While women are fully accepted in their business roles, it’s important for them to understand that machismo is very important to some Spanish men, so they often feel the need to be in control of the situation.

Spaniards stand close together when talking, and may also pat your arm or shoulder to make a point. Don’t move away, or it may cause offense.

Another common Spanish gesture is snapping the hands downward to emphasize a point.

Spain is a very religious country, so many people will be offended if they hear you take the Lord’s name in vain, and it’s best to refrain from swearing in the presence of others.

The Spanish business culture is extremely hierarchical, and only bosses, known as “el jefe” or “el padron,” have the authority to make decisions. Generally, subordinates follow orders, obey authority, and solve any problems before they surface.

Be aware that it would be frowned upon if you spent a great deal of time and attention on someone who is of lesser rank than you. It’s better to spend time with those who would be considered your “business equal”.

Make the effort to adapt to the Spanish business ways, because it demonstrates your respect for their culture and shows that you are flexible.

Don’t expect to discuss business at the start of any meeting. Spaniards want to become acquainted with you before proceeding to business, so be accommodating and answer any questions they may have about your background. On the flip side, it’s best not to ask them too many personal questions during first introductions.

Feelings are strongly relied on in the Spanish business culture. Consequently, it’s important that you work at building a good rapport with your Spanish counterparts.

Although Spaniards are receptive to new information and ideas, you may find that they don’t change their minds easily. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise.

Don’t be concerned if you are interrupted while talking, and don’t take it as an insult. Spanish interruptions most often indicate a genuine and enthusiastic interest in the discussion.

As in many Asian countries, you must do everything you can to prevent yourself and others from “losing face”, so be very careful to avoid any kind of criticism or embarrassment.

Spaniards will often insist that everything is in perfect order, even when this is not the case. This is a “face-saving” measure to appear competent and in control. Pay close attention during conversations to discern what is really going on.

Decision-making and negotiations in Spain can be slow, and various levels of hierarchy are consulted as aspects of a proposal are analyzed. After a successful negotiation, gifts are sometimes exchanged to mark the happy occasion.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness.

All types of sports, and especially soccer!

Architecture, music, art, culture, and anything related to the country or region’s beauty.

Travel, places you’ve visited, and your home country.

Good, wine, and especially the food or wine of the regions in Spain you are visiting.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

The North American “O.K.” sign (making a circle of the first finger and thumb) is considered vulgar and should never be used.

Summoning a person by curling your index finger is considered rude. Instead, turn your palm down and wave your fingers or entire hand.

Bullfighting is a revered art form here. Consequently, it will be in your best interests to refrain from airing any criticisms about it.

Avoid placing too much of an emphasis on your professional experience and business success during a conversation. In the Spanish culture, the quality of your character is the best measure of respect

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for Sweden!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SOUTH KOREA

Posted on September 10, 2016 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SOUTH KOREA – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to ZSouth Korea

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for South Korea is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for South Korea, tips for communicating in South Korea, and strategies for doing business with South Korea to help with understanding the culture in South Korea. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for South Korea and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for South Korea – including some valuable business travel tips for South Korea!

When doing business in South Korea, tone down hand motions and facial expressions when talking or laughing because being too animated or demonstrative is frowned upon.

Keep your voice tone moderate since they generally speak in a soft voice.

Third party introductions are usually preferred, so wait to be introduced to another at gatherings and parties.

South Korean men greet each other with a slight bow, and sometimes an accompanying handshake, while maintaining eye contact. Respect may be added by supporting your right forearm with your left hand during the handshake.

Bow at the beginning and end of a meeting. An exit bow that is longer than the greeting bow is a sign that the meeting went well.

The junior person will initiate the greetings and be the first to bow. The senior person will be the first to offer his hand. A gentle handshake or nod of the head may also be sufficient in business so follow their lead.

While this is slowly changing, women in the South Korean business culture often don’t shake hands. Western men should not try to shake hands with a Korean woman; Western women will usually need to initiate a handshake with Korean men.

Elderly people are highly respected, so it is good manners to greet and speak to them first and spend a few minutes with them. Complimenting an elder’s good health is always appreciated.

Gift-giving is often practiced in a business setting. Good gifts for a first trip include office items with your company logo or something that is commemorative of your home region. Your gift should be of good quality but modestly priced. Use both of your hands when giving or receiving a gift. Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver.

South Koreans may be asked personal questions regarding your age, salary, education, religion, and family life because they think that they can establish rapport by finding common denominators. These questions may also be asked to determine your status–which means everything in South Korean business culture.

Since you will be judged according to your status, your title should be emphasized on your business card. This gives the recipient an idea of your job responsibility and assists him or her in determining the amount of decision-making authority you have.

In this culture, it is considered important to keep business cards in immaculate condition. Investing in a business card case will allow your cards to stay well preserved. Writing on a business card is perceived as a sign of disrespect.

Present your business card with two hands or, at their lead, with your right hand. When you receive another person’s card, carefully examine it and then make a positive remark before putting it in your card case or on a nearby table. Accepting a business card and then immediately stuffing it into your back pocket will be perceived as disrespectful.

Modesty is very important in South Korea. When you are paid a compliment during a conversation, respond by saying that you are not worthy of such praise. It’s best not to acknowledge a compliment by saying “thank you” or you affirm it. However, this should not stop you from complimenting another person, since compliments are still very much appreciated.

South Koreans have an intense pride in their country and a rich sense of its history. Consequently, it is important that you make every effort not to confuse the history and culture with other Asian countries, especially Japan. It’s also best not to bring gifts from Japan or talk about your contacts or travels there.

South Koreans avoid saying, “No”, directly, so answer questions affirmatively in a positive way, even when you have to deliver negative information.

Many forms of physical contact are considered disrespectful. Gestures such as touching someone on the back or on the person’s arm are discouraged. Physical contact is inappropriate with older people, people of the opposite sex, or people who are not good friends or family. However, one exception is that people of the same sex will often hold hands.

Be aware that personal relationships generally take precedence over business. The first meeting should be solely for the purpose of getting to know your counterpart and establishing rapport.

Expect tea to be served at the beginning of the meeting, and make a point of accepting this offering of hospitality. Keep a formal demeanor as long as your counterpart does.

While South Koreans are very formal in personal situations, this is not the case when they are standing in line in public places where pushing and shoving are commonplace.

Like anyone else South Koreans laugh when something is funny however, smiling is also used to mask embarrassment and other feelings of distress. Criticism of any kind should be done in private to avoid “loss of face”.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness to the speaker

Talk about South Korea’s economic success and international accomplishments

Compliment and ask questions about South Korea’s cultural heritage, landmarks, art, and customs

South Koreans are avid sports enthusiasts — especially when it comes to the Olympics!

Discuss your personal hobbies – they love kite and kite flying!

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

Don’t discuss South Korean or North Korean politics, Socialism, Communism, and the Korean War

Blowing your nose in public is considered vulgar. If heavily spiced food makes your nose run, get up and move away from the table before blowing your nose.

Beckoning a person by moving a single finger toward you is considered very rude. Beckon someone by extending your arm palm down and moving your fingers up and down.

Cover your mouth when yawning or using a toothpick.

Feet are perceived as dirty and should not touch other people or objects. Men should take care that the soles of their shoes are pointing down. Women are permitted to cross their legs as long as the sole of the shoes don’t point at anyone.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for SPAIN!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: Communication Guidelines for SOUTH AFRICA

Posted on October 3, 2015 by Leave a comment

South AfricaThe Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: South Africa

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for South Africa’ is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for South Africa, tips for communicating in South Africa, and strategies for doing business with South Africa to help with understanding the culture in South Aftica. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to tips for intercultural communication!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Cultural Tips for South Africa – including some valuable business travel tips for South Africa!

When doing business in South Africa,

When doing business in South Africa, keep in mind that the English, the Afrikaners, and the black Africans all have distinct forms of greeting, and while united as South Africans, each tends to mirror their collective personality.

South Africa is the industrial center of Africa, and is a key producer of minerals including diamonds, gold, silver, and copper.

Any hint of ignorance about the South African domestic or regional political scene will almost surely disqualify you from doing business in this country.

With Apartheid gone, South Africa has emerged as one of the most multicultural nations, being composed of British, Afrikaans, Malay, Indian, Zulu, Xhosa, and other black tribes.

South Africa is not a “melting pot”, but rather a society composed of various communities and races that remain separate yet integral forces in seeking a new union aspiring to lead and repair the country.

English speaking South Africans tend to be reserved, proud of their cultural heritage, have good manners, elegant, expressive speech, and avoid unnecessary conflict. Afrikaners, like their Dutch ancestors, are more direct and to the point and have a tendency to “tell it like it is.”

Many South Africans are bilingual, and speak English and Afrikaans (of Dutch origin).

Some South Africans speak English with a heavy accent, as well as in a fast rhythm. It’s important that you pay close attention, because constantly asking people to repeat themselves will eventually be insulting.

Introductions are usually orchestrated in order of seniority. South Africans appreciate a good education, so an advanced degree from a well-known University may be referenced in the introduction.

Typically, South Africans follow the British style of a polite, formal exchange of handshakes and business card exchanges.

Always wait to be asked to sit down. Once seated, expect to be asked a couple of times if you want coffee or tea. It’s a good idea to accept, as this provides a break in the formality and allows for the start of some preliminary “small talk.”

A common interest in sports goes a long way in solidifying the personal side of a business relationship. Casually mentioning that you’d love to see a cricket match or rugby game might just get you an invitation to one!

By nature, South Africans are a warm, friendly, outgoing people, and conversations can get personal after a relatively brief period of time. They will take a genuine interest in the way of life in your home country and what you think of South Africa.

If there is a long period of silence in the course of a conversation, it is a sign that the situation has become awkward or there is something else that is wrong.

South Africans tend to use demonstrative body language when talking. You’ll likely experience a lot of handshaking and some backslapping. With friends and close associates, hand-holding is a sign of friendship.

In contrast, business discussions are conducted in a cordial manner and in quiet voices. A raised voice will be interpreted as an insult. Also, increasing your volume runs the risk of getting you branded as a pushy foreigner more concerned about the “bottom line” than the personal side of a business relationship.

South African businesspeople aren’t easily impressed with slide presentations. The first meeting is about establishing personal rapport and deciding if you’re a person they can trust. It would be a mistake to expect any instant decisions or deals until the relationship is well established.

Keep your presentation short, to the point, and filled with specific ideas related to the special circumstances of doing business in South Africa. Sometimes, the logistics and financing of the deal are more important to South Africans than the actual product or service that you are trying to sell.

Generally, South Africans don’t like to admit that they don’t know an answer. A lot of this tendency has to do with the tradition of hospitality and the desire not to disappoint. Don’t push for an immediate answer, and the correct information will likely be provided to you in the very near future.

The pace of business is somewhat slower and more relaxed when it comes to negotiations and the decision-making process. Being overly aggressive about deadlines will be counterproductive. Avoid the “hare-sell” since that may be perceived as pushy.

In negotiations and decision-making, South Africans strive to build consensus, and prefer to see all sides gain something. For the most part, they are ruled by a sense of fair play, and it’s rare for them to “haggle” over prices or obsess over details.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Maintaining good eye contact is essential
  • Talking about sports is an effective way to personalize business. Make the effort to learn about the country’s accomplishments in golf, rugby, and cricket
  • A small yet thoughtful gift for your business associates or their families will be greatly appreciated. Personalized gifts are the best
  • Talking about your home country, as well as your interest in South Africa — it’s diverse and beautiful terrain, rich culture, and wild life
  • The evolving racial and social policies are open to discussion, but make sure you are well versed on the topic, and don’t impose your views

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • It’s impolite to point with your index finger so use an open hand
  • Talking with your hands in your pockets is considered rude
  • When passing through a doorway, it’s customary for African men to precede women
  • Don’t initiate or participate in racist or sexist conversations should the topic arise
  • The “V” or peace sign is the same as giving “someone the finger”, and it’s usually punctuated by an upward thrust of the hand

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for SOUTH KOREA!

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for different cultures, and the business and communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Currently on: Gayle’s blog

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Not Knowing = Not Selling! How to Sell to Different Cultures

Posted on July 26, 2015 by Leave a comment

Not Knowing = Not Selling!

How to Sell to Different Cultures Not Selling

In today’s global business marketplace, the ability to sell to and communicate effectively with different cultures cannot be underestimated. I found this out very quickly when I lived and worked in Switzerland. I didn’t expect that there would be specific things about me that would have a negative impact when promoting my company’s Cross-Cultural Training Seminars. However, I found out very quickly that I had 3 very specific strikes against me. First I was American, and their attitude was “what could an American teach them about culture?” Second I was female, and there are still considerably fewer business women at high levels in Swiss business. Third I was blonde, and yes — the dumb blonde jokes are global! I decided that I needed to adapt my image and my communication approach to better fit their expectations. That consisted of classic, professional suits; hair in a French twist, and high heels since I’m short. For a group of senior bankers in Zurich, I even wore fake eyeglasses! I also changed my communication style to be more factual, direct, and to the point, something which the Swiss appreciate. I smiled less, minimized my tonal modulations, and was less demonstrative in my body language, gestures, and facial expressions. And – it worked!

Now, you don’t have to travel outside the United States to experience this. The U.S. is a melting pot of people from all over the world. And even though the standard rule ‘When in Rome – do as the Romans’ may apply, we sometimes don’t position ourselves in the best light, and subtly rub someone the wrong way with our actions, gestures, communication style, or even perhaps how we look.

Common Cross-Cultural Mistakes That Are Made When Developing Transcultural Relationships

  • Not being proactive and not adapting to different cultural business expectations. It’s all too easy to get off on the wrong foot and become reactive – especially in the sales process.
  • Not knowing how formality, hierarchy, and timing can affect business interactions, the sales process, and decision making with different cultures. These things can have a tremendous impact on negotiations. Not knowing = not selling.
  • Having your enthusiasm perceived as aggressive, impatient, or even arrogant! Developing a sales relationship often takes longer with different cultures, especially in other countries, so plan accordingly.
  • Coming across as egocentric or too ‘I’ oriented. Many cultures are more team focused or ‘we’ oriented than the typical salesperson in the U.S. This can also greatly impact your choice of marketing style and material.
  • Unintentionally offending someone with your choice of body language or gestures. This is one of the biggest cultural taboos, and can be very difficult to recover from. A basic guideline is to use open- handed gestures. Don’t point with your index finger, don’t use the OK sign, and don’t use the thumbs up or thumbs down gestures. They are likely to subtly offend someone somewhere – even in the U.S.

How can you proactively prepare for multicultural sales?

Awareness is the 1st step! Observe how people communicate with you in person, on the phone, and by email. Notice if they are more formal and expressive, or more direct and to the point. They are telling you how they like to be communicated with so model their style.

If doing business in another country — know your facts. Be aware of the relevant historical data, economic issues, major industries, and geography to name a few. There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing your facts or geography!

To develop cultural rapport, learn what is important to other cultures. For example, it made international headlines a few years ago when Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited President Bush at his Crawford ranch. They were photographed strolling hand in hand through the bluebonnet garden. This was an important sign of their friendship and trust. Sometimes you may even need to go a bit beyond your comfort zone to establish rapport!

Know a few words in the language of the country. 5 simples phrases: “My name is”, “Nice to meet you”, “Please”, “Thank you”, and “Sorry, I only speak a little of your language”. Another phrase that will always be useful is the toast of the land, “Cheers!”

Keep in mind that we are blending and homogenizing into a global culture, so even with all the knowledge we acquire, we can’t ever take cultural tendencies for granted. As soon as you do — you’ll be surprised by something completely unexpected!  That’s why observation and awareness is so important.

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

  1. Create Proactive Communication: Stay out of the reactive cycle. Focus on positioning yourself, your product, and your company so that it facilitates partnerships and trust. This is an important first step before jumping into the business at hand.
  2. Rapport Secrets: Adapt your marketing material, sales style, and business approach to the cultural preferences of the customer.
  3. Organize Productive Interactions: Work towards collaboration and a ‘win-win’ outcome for all parties. This helps to avoid conflict and cultural sensitivities. It establishes trust, and influences decision-makers.
  4. Strategies for Relationships: Create strategies based on cultural expectations, and incorporate the appropriate level of formality. Understand the business hierarchy, the decision making protocol, and the timing necessary for sales cycles.
  5. Success Leaves Clues: Learn the Dos and Taboos of the country and cultures you sell to and partner with. Notice what works and what doesn’t. Change your approach based on the results, and enjoy the process!

Bon Voyage… Cheers to successful multicultural sales in 2015!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need conference speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the industry of professional motivational speakers and professional public speakers. Known for her cross-cultural communication books and intercultural training, she is among the best of female keynote speakers, women motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is a cross-cultural speaker and expert on social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide, entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her fresh and unique style, and is sure to please any audience with her charm, wit, and humor!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for RUSSIA

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Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SOUTH AFRICA

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: Communication Guidelines for SINGAPORE

Posted on June 27, 2015 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: SingaporeSingapore2

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Singapore’ is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Singapore, tips for communicating in Singapore, and strategies for doing business with Singapore to help with understanding the culture in Singapore. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to tips for intercultural communication!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this article and of the bestselling book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Education, and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle to be a conference speaker for your events! She is a cross cultural expert that will entertain and inspire audiences of all sizes with her fresh, unique, and humorous approach to cross-cultural communication and social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland.

Cultural Tips for Singapore – including some valuable business travel tips for Singapore!

When doing business in Singapore, punctuality is essential for business appointments. It is considered an insult to leave a Singaporean business executive waiting.

Occasionally, a Singaporean may prefer to arrive a few minutes late so as not to appear overly eager or anxious, especially if the person has been invited to an event in which food will be served.

The Singaporean business culture is intensely competitive and has an exceptionally strong work ethic. The group, rather than the individual, prevails and the oldest or most competent member usually assumes the leadership position.

Avoid publicly debating, correcting, or disagreeing with an older person or superior. The older person or superior will only “lose face”, and, consequently, you will lose the respect of others.

In Singapore, it’s considered perfectly acceptable to ask people questions about their weight, income, marital status, and related subjects. If this makes you uncomfortable, side-step these questions as graciously as possible so you don’t cause the questioner to “lose face”.

Speak in low, calm tones of voice, and avoid raising your voice or becoming overly emotional and showing anger.

Age and seniority are revered in this culture. If you are part of a delegation, ensure that the most important members are introduced first. If you are introducing two people, state the name of the most important individual first.

Business cards may be printed in English however, since a high proportion of Singaporean businesspeople are ethnic Chinese it will be an asset to have the reverse side of your card translated into Chinese.

Business cards should be exchanged with every business associate you encounter after the introductions. They are exchanged with both hands and held between the thumbs and forefingers. In some cases, this may be accompanied by a slight bow.

The recipient will accept the card with both hands, study it for a moment, make eye contact with you, and then carefully place it on a nearby table or in a card case or pocket. You should do the same when a card is presented to you. Business cards are handled with great respect because they represent a person’s identity. Never write on someone’s business card!

If you compliment a Singaporean, it is best that it is based on accomplishments rather than appearance which may be considered insincere.

Singaporean listening etiquette dictates that you count to 10 before responding. By waiting a minimum of 10 seconds, you will demonstrate that you have given careful consideration to what you heard before responding.

It is considered polite to break eye contact so that you do not seem to be staring or glaring at the other person.

With the exception of handshakes, there is no public contact between the sexes in Singapore. Hugging and kissing, even between husbands and wives, is strongly discouraged in public.

Conversely, physical contact between people of the same sex is perfectly acceptable. You’ll likely observe men holding hands with men or walking with their arms around each other. These actions are interpreted strictly as gestures of friendship.

Singapore has many different cultures and religions. The Muslims and Hindus believe that the left hand is unclean. Consequently, eat only with your right hand, and avoid touching things with your left hand if you can use your right hand instead.

Many Indians and Malays believe that the head is the “seat of the soul”, so don’t touch anyone’s head or face, even if stroking the hair of a child.

Feet are also believed to be unclean, so don’t move or touch anything with your feet, and never cross your legs or feet so the sole of your shoe is pointing at someone.

Among Indians, rocking the head from side to side actually signals agreement, although Westerners may interpret this gesture as meaning, “no.”

The personal relationship you build in Singapore is often considered more important than the company you represent. A relationship with each group member is essential to conducting business. Your Singaporean counterparts must genuinely like, feel at ease with, and trust you.

Business agreements will likely require several trips over a period of months. Negotiations are conducted at a much slower pace than in the U.S. or many European countries.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Travel and the Arts, as the Singaporeans are typically well travelled and cultured
  • The modern economic advances and the architecture of Singapore
  • The variety of foods and the excellent cuisine
  • Your future plans, business success (without boasting), and personal interests
  • To beckon someone, hold your hand out, palm downward, and make a scooping motion with the fingers. Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger will be interpreted as an insult

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • The personal life of another individual
  • Bureaucracy, politics, and religion
  • Legalities, crime, and punishment in Singapore. Spitting, smoking in public, chewing gum, and jaywalking are all offenses subject to fines
  • Standing tall with your hands on your hips is typically perceived as an angry, aggressive stance
  • It is considered rude to point at anyone with the forefinger. Instead, use your entire right hand

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for SOUTH AFRICA!

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for Singapore, doing business in Singapore, and the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Currently on: Gayle’s blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SINGAPORE

Currently on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SOUTH KOREA

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: Communication Guidelines for SCOTLAND

Posted on April 19, 2015 by Leave a comment

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

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Scotland’ is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Scotland, tips for communicating in Scotland, and strategies for doing business with Scotland to help with understanding the culture in Scotland. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to tips for intercultural communication!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this article and of the bestselling book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Education, and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle to be a conference speaker for your events! She is a cross cultural expert that will entertain and inspire audiences of all sizes with her fresh, unique, and humorous approach to cross-cultural communication and social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland.

Cultural Tips for SCOTLAND – including some valuable business travel tips!

The points below also include some valuable business travel tips for Scotland.

When doing business in Scotland, make an effort to speak in a low, moderate tone of voice. Talking too loudly in public is sometimes considered offensive and embarrassing.

The Scots tend to be a very soft-spoken and private people, and it may take longer to develop a rapport with them. They become friendlier and more open once the relationship is established.

In conversation, the Scots tend to downplay hand gestures and other physical expressions.

Keep your hands out of your pockets when standing and walking, as this is considered impolite.

Scots tend to be a ‘low-contact’ people. Rather than touching or getting too close, it is more appropriate to remain at least one arms’ length distance from your Scottish counterpart.

Scots are very respectful when standing in lines. Some people around you may ask you questions, however you should limit any “small talk” which may be disturbing to others.

The Scots are very proud of their culture, which has strong traditions. Avoid making comments that group the Scots with the English. Scots are very proud of their distinctive heritage.

Learn something about the Scottish culture to contribute to the conversation. Refrain from making jokes statements in jest about any aspect of their culture.

Refer to things that are of Scottish origin as “Scottish.” Be aware that “Scotch” is not the correct term to use and may cause offense.

If you are a woman, you may be referred to as “deary” or “love” once you’re considered an acquaintance or friend in Scotland. Don’t be offended — these expressions are considered acceptable and endearing.

Although Scottish women participate in the work force, there are typically fewer in managerial positions. Women business travelers should maintain a professional demeanor, dress conservatively, and show a strong knowledge of their field.

While first names are becoming more commonly used in business, before presuming to use a Scot’s first name, wait to be invited.

Keep in mind, the title “Sir” should be used when addressing a man who has been knighted by the Queen, followed by his first name. For instance, Sir Andrew Carnegie would be addressed as “Sir Andrew.”

In Scottish business culture, it is important to be punctual at work and in social situations. Also arrive on time if invited to a dinner party.

Business cards should be printed in English, the national language. Ensure that you bring a plentiful supply, since Scottish businesspeople tend to be keen to exchange them.

The most senior executives in the majority of Scottish companies are known as “managing directors.” They are responsible for making final decisions.

One way of understanding the “chain of command” is by observing the amount of deference given to others during a meeting. While the managing director will be instrumental in the final decision, carefully watching how the participants treat each other can often be revealing.

During business presentations, always pause and allow for a “question and answer” periods throughout.

It’s an asset to have visuals such as charts and graphs in any business presentation materials.

Even if the meeting becomes informal at times, it is still important to remain guarded and professional.

Shortly after a meeting, it is a good policy to provide follow-up by sending a summary of the results to your Scottish contacts.

5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation

  • The weather or beautiful countryside of Scotland – which is lovely even in the rain!
  • Your travels in Scotland, Europe, and other countries
  • Scotland’s history, literature, architecture, and art Family is a good t topic of conversation,
  • Outdoor activities and sports are always of interest
  • Interesting experiences you may have had

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Avoid in Conversation

  • Comments that compare the Scots with the English
  • Using the term “Scotch” to refer to the Scottish may cause offense.
  • Inquiring about a Scot’s family, until they bring it up first
  • Asking what a person does for a living unless it’s a business related question for business
  • Politics, religion, and Northern Ireland

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for SINGAPORE!

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for Scotland, doing business in Scotland, and the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: Communication Guidelines for SAUDI ARABIA

Posted on April 5, 2015 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: SAUDI ARABIA Saudi Arabia

 

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for Saudi Arabia is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Saudi Arabia, tips for communicating in Saudi Arabia, and strategies for doing business with Saudi Arabia to help with understanding the culture in Saudi Arabia. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this article and of the bestselling book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Education, and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle to be a conference speaker for your events! She is a cross cultural expert that will entertain and inspire audiences of all sizes with her fresh, unique, and humorous approach to cross-cultural communication and social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland.

The Saudi work week runs from Saturday through Wednesday. Most people do not work on Thursday, and there is no business conducted on Friday – the Muslim holy day.

Because there are several styles of greetings used in Saudi Arabia, it’s best to wait for your Saudi counterpart to initiate the greeting. Westernized Saudi men usually shake hands with other men, and some Saudi men will shake hands with Western women.

Saudis tend to stand and sit much closer together than western cultures. When interacting, there is also more physical contact and usually some gestures of touching. Saudi men often walk hand in hand, so if a Saudi holds your hand accept this gesture of friendship.

In the West status is earned through achievement, however in the Arab world status is determined by class.

The pace of business is slower in Saudi Arabia than in the West, so patience is essential. Business meetings start slowly, and there will be initial questions and small talk to create rapport.

Most Western countries have tried to promote equality between men and women. However, Arabic countries believe that the two sexes are completely different entities. Public life is the exclusive domain of Saudi men, and Saudi women don’t usually participate in the mainstream business world.

For female business travelers, the limitations on permissible behavior are highly regulated. Even if granted a visa, conducting business can be quite challenging for a woman. While they will be accepted without veils, they must dress very conservatively.

Eye contact is extremely important when speaking to Saudis. It’s advisable to remove your sunglasses and look people directly in the eye.

Saudis will expect you to be sincere, honest, and respectful in all your business dealings. “Saving face” and avoiding shame are very importance, so you may have to compromise on something to protect someone’s dignity. It’s always best to offer praise rather than criticism

In the Saud culture, the individual is always subordinate to the group, and the family is considered the most important social unit.

In the West, there is a belief in the separation between Church and state. In Saudi Arabia religion has a profound influence on politics, social behavior, and business.

Saudis tend to be unreceptive to outside information that is incompatible with Islamic values, so learn something about the basic tenets of Islam. Their faith in Islamic ideologies shapes their perceptions of the truth. There is a prevailing belief that solutions to problems can be found in the correct interpretation and application of divine law.

In the Saudi culture conversations are enthusiastic, and it is normal to speak in a rather aggressive manner to make a point. Speaking loudly, rising the pitch and tone, or even shouting can be perceived as signs of sincerity. If you appear distant, reserved, quiet, or shy, it could make the Saudis think something is wrong.

Business is conducted in a personal manner, and it’s important to pay close attention to all family members that you are introduced to. Show an interest in the health and happiness of brothers, uncles, cousins, and sons. However, don’t inquire about or mention the female members of the family.

There is a tendency among Saudis to use euphemisms to downplay unpleasant facts or to harmlessly embellish the truth. They may be reluctant to give you bad news about business, so keep this in mind if all of the feedback you receive seems unusually positive.

Often immediate feelings, rather than empirical evidence, are key influences in thinking and decisions. Saudis are brought up to be associative thinkers, however many complete their higher education in the U.K. or the U.S. so they have adapted to thinking conceptually and analytically.

It’s important to dress well, extend and receive favors, show respect for elders, and be accommodating in business.

Appointments are rarely private occasions, so interruptions from phone calls and visits from your contact’s friends and family are to be expected.

When negotiating, Saudis frequently use personalized arguments, appeals, and insistent persuasion, so they will expect a similar approach from you.

The male leader is the key decision-maker, however he usually won’t precede until he has the consensus of the group. Leadership and identity arise from one’s lineage and ability to protect the honor of the extended family.

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Tips

  • Family is a good t topic of conversation, however don’t inquire about female members unless they bring it up first
  • Sports, especially soccer (known as “football”), horse and camel racing, hunting and falconry – although keep in mind that all betting is illegal
  • Praise the Saudi landmarks, cuisine, dress, and all aspects of the country that you find appealing
  • The unique and historic architecture of the Saudi culture
  • Periodically ask about the health and happiness of family brothers, uncles, cousins, and sons

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Taboos

  • Politics, Israel, illness, accidents, death, or bad luck of any kind
  • Anything that could cause embarrassment or ‘loss of face’
  • The left hand is considered unclean in the Arabic culture, so always use the right hand when touching, eating, or gesturing
  • While sitting keep both feet on the ground, don’t cross your legs, and avoid showing the bottom of your foot which is considered very offensive
  • Although Saudis gesture with their hands while speaking, pointing or using the thumbs-up gesture is considered rude

Bon Voyage! 

Join us in the future for SCOTLAND!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SAUDI ARABIA

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SCOTLAND

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: A Touch of Grace

Posted on January 24, 2015 by Leave a comment

To touch or not to touch! How about a touch of grace?

Touch of Grace-Queen-Mich ObamaCultural etiquette, politeness, and good manners are passed down through societies from generation to generation. Etiquette refers to the cultural guidelines for what is appropriate or inappropriate and polite or impolite. It gives a culture structure, integrity, grace, and finesse—all of which are uniquely adapted from one culture to another. Fortunately, simple business and social etiquette are often based on basic common sense. Although etiquette styles and fads may come and go, the fundamentals of global etiquette remain essentially the same.

Often I’m asked about cultural ‘faux pas’, especially as they relate to gestures and touching someone in a way that breaks cultural protocol. This unintentional breach of protocol happens frequently, and will continue to happen, however the real etiquette come into play when the breach is handled with such grace and dignity that the breach dissolves unnoticed! Two examples of this come to mind.

Recently when Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, were presented with a Cleveland Cavaliers T-shirt for Prince George by LaBron James, LaBron put his arm around Kate’s shoulder for the photo, unaware that touching the royal family has been known to break the accepted protocol. Neither Prince William nor Kate showed any sign of being uncomfortable with LaBron’s gesture, showing instead dignity and a touch a grace.

Another similar situation happened in March 2012 when President Obama and the First Lady meet Queen Elizabeth in England. In this case, the Queen first extended her arm to touch Michelle Obama’s back, at which point Mrs. Obama responded in like creating an embrace between the two. The British media was abuzz with this show of affection by the Queen who had not publically displayed this sort of affection in 57 years! From the perspective of “rapport”, perhaps the Queen was welcoming Mrs. Obama in the manner more typically comfortable for the U.S. than England. Traditionally, the protocol would be to follow the customs of etiquette for the country you are in, however Queen Elizabeth and the First lady showed that doing things differently can be just fine!

A touch of grace happens when we let go of traditional cultural expectations and connect on the level of the culture we have in common – the ‘Human Culture’. As we begin 2015, perhaps we can focus more on what we have in common rather than on our differences. The following 7 tips will help us do just that!

  • Be respectful: Respect is a universal language!
  • Show you care: Learn what’s important to the cultures you visit or work with
  • Strike a balance: Find the comfortable middle ground between cultures. No one expects you to be just like them!
  • Know your geography: There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the location of a country and its neighbors!
  • Mind your manners: Learn what is considered polite and impolite for the countries you visit
  • Learn how to greet: Greetings are as diverse as the cultures themselves. There are handshakes, kisses, hugs, and bows, and they come in all different sizes!
  • Show a touch of grace: Differences are the spice of life! When it comes to cultural etiquette, no one expects perfection. Enjoy yourself, and it’s highly likely your counterparts will do the same!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVE ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the industry of professional public speakers and professional motivational speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers, women motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. Gayle is a cross-cultural speaker that is an expert on social business etiquette, and she is sure to please any audience with her charm, wit, and humor!

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Circles Of Excellence website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Book website: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for RUSSIA

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

Cross-cultural article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SOUTH AFRICA

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

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