Posts tagged with do’s and taboos for international business

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

Posted on January 11, 2015 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: RUSSIARussia2

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for Russia is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Russia, tips for communicating in Russia, and strategies for doing business with Russia to help with understanding the culture in Russia. 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.

Addresses in Russia are written in the following order: (1) country (2) city (3) street address and (4) the last name of the individual.

Handshaking is common and is typically a firm grip with several quick pumps between two men. Between men and women, or two women, the handshake is usually softer. It’s appropriate for men to wait until a woman extends her hand before reaching for it. Between women, the older woman extends her hand first.

Russians are a very demonstrative people, and public physical contact is common. Hugs, backslapping, kisses on the cheeks, and other expressive gestures are common among friends and relatives when greeting.

When a Russian touches another person during a greeting or conversation, it is usually a sign of confidence and rapport.

Generally speaking, Russians are more comfortable with third-party introductions, so it’s best to wait a moment before introducing yourself to a new group. If, after a few minutes, no introduction is made you may then take the initiative.

Eye contact during the introduction is very important and should be maintained as long as the individual is addressing you.

Visitors should speak in a calm moderate tone of voice since speaking or laughing loudly in public is frowned upon.

Personal questions are best avoided, although you may be subject to these inquiries. Answer these questions as best as you are willing to since your Russian companions may press you for details.

There is tremendous affection for children in Russia. If you are a parent, showing photographs of your children can be an effective way of building rapport.

In conversation, it is helpful to discuss your aspirations and hopes for the future. Sometimes, Russians are far more interested in the personal side of your character than your business agenda.

Allow plenty of time for each appointment. Not only may appointments start late, they may last longer than originally planned.

The Russian business culture has a deeply entrenched hierarchy. Superiors have authority over their subordinates, and are ultimately responsible for the final decision.

It’s essential that you deal with the key decision-makers, rather than the go-betweens who are often sent to meet with new visitors. It’s wise to plan ahead and make the right contacts well in advance of your trip.

When decision-makers are present, meetings can be a time for all participants to exchange information and ideas.

Ensure that you have a contact outside of the negotiations who is an expert in Russian law, which is constantly subject to change in both interpretation and application.

The first meeting is usually more of a formality, a time for the Russians to assess the credibility of you and your company. The best strategy is to appear very firm and dignified, while maintaining an air of warmth and approachability.

It’s essential that your business team display a “united front” when negotiating with the Russians. A good way to start is by ensuring that all members of your team understand and agree on precisely what they want to achieve from the deal.

While strong empirical evidence and other factual data are important in any presentation, making a trustworthy impression is an important priority with Russians.

Extend compliments with caution, since they may cause Russians to feel a sense of misplaced obligation. Praising and rewarding anyone in public may be viewed with suspicion.

Your Russian counterparts may insist that they understand something while this may not actually be the case. They also sometimes have a tendency to say things they think you want to hear.

The Russian word “nyekulturny” is a popular term used to refer to anything considered uncultured, bad mannered, or otherwise socially unacceptable. The taboos below are a few examples of some behaviors regarded as “nyekulturny.”

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Tips

  • The rapid, progressive changes taking place in Russia
  • Culture, theatre, movies, music, and literature
  • Travel, history, and architecture
  • There is always an interest in current events as long as you remain open to various perspectives
  • The food and drink that is unmistakably a part of Russian entertainment

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Taboos

  • Wearing your coat inside office buildings or public places. Coatrooms are usually available and should be used.
  • Standing with your hands in your pockets
  • Sitting with the legs apart, or with one ankle resting upon the knee
  • Comparing Russia to other developing countries, or comparing Moscow and Saint Petersburg
  • Beckoning someone with the forefinger. Instead, turn your hand so that the palm faces down and make a scratching motion. Many common gestures used in the West, such as the “OK” sign, are considered rude in Russia.

Bon Voyage!

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To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for Russia, doing business in Russia, and the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order my 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 countries 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!

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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What World Leaders and Business Travelers Need to Know About Visiting China!

Posted on November 15, 2014 by 1 Comment

Cultural Tips for Visiting China

What World Leaders and Business Travelers Need to Know!  China-Obama-APEC-11-14

Success leaves clues, or in this case the lack of success leaves clues! Throughout history we’ve witnessed presidential “faux pas”, and this time President Obama added himself to the list when arriving in Beijing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

He can be excused for choosing the security of a U.S. supplied vehicle over the Chinese-provided limousine service, however when he emerged from his vehicle chewing gum, I had to question the cultural preparation he had received for his visit. Although he frequently chews Nicorette gum to manage his smoking habit, this doesn’t bode well with the formal standards of the Chinese party leadership. He was unfortunately characterized as an “idler” and “rapper” on Chinese social media.

Chewing gum is considered impolite in China, but chewing gum wasn’t the only misstep. Upon his arrival, he shook hands and patted the backs of the Chinese delegates who greeted him. While those pats on the back are considered a sign of comradery and friendship in the U.S., they aren’t appreciated the same way in the Chinese culture.

The Chinese Communist Party launched a six-month campaign to educate the Beijing delegation on how to behave when welcoming world leaders for its biggest international event since the 2008 Summer Olympics. It was surprising that the leader of the most powerful nation in the world was the first to make headlines for cultural missteps.

A few tips on the cultural protocol in China could have avoided this embarrassment. World leaders and business travelers alike should keep the following points in mind when visiting China.

  • Avoid using any excessively demonstrative behavior or gesture. Don’t raise your voice too loud, or snap your fingers, wink, or whistle.
  • Chewing gum in public — especially at official or formal occasions, is considered impolite and uncultured.
  • China is not a “touching” culture, so avoid back patting, putting an arm around someone’s shoulders, hugs, and so on.
  • Handshaking is done with a rather gentle grip because a very firm handshake suggests aggression.
  • Good eye contact is appropriate, although it won’t be prolonged. The Chinese culture is taught to avert their eyes to avoid the intimidation.
  • Point with an open hand because pointing with an index finger is considered impolite.
  • Don’t blow your nose in a handkerchief or tissue and then put it in your pocket or handbag. This is considered unsanitary.
  • Don’t cause any type of embarrassment that could result in “loss of face”. “Face” is a bankable notion that is literally a statement of a person’s value.
  • Gentlemen — don’t cross your legs with your foot resting on your knee. It is considered disrespectful, and you may inadvertently point the sole of your shoe at someone – a real insult!

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.

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for international business, and the communication and business styles of Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order my 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 countries 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!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

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

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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