Posts tagged with dos and taboos for south korea

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

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Great Article! ’10 Tips for Improved Communication’ Is on YPO

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Leave a comment


ypo

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” Greek philosopher Epictetus wrote. One of the most important and most neglected communication skills for leaders is listening. What most people consider listening — the absence of speaking — is a poor substitute for the actual art of active listening.

According to Gayle Cotton, Emmy award winner, president of Circles of Excellence and author of “Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere”, “If people feel that what they say doesn’t matter because you’re not really going to listen to it, you keep people from wanting to communicate with you and create difficult, superficial relationships. It stifles creativity.”

Read more at the link below:

10 Tips to Improve Communication

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’, 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!

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.

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

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

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

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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

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

Check out what’s on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

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Travelling to #Japan for Business? Read this Article Before You Go!

Posted on September 19, 2015 by Leave a comment

ABOUT.COM: Business Travel Tips for Japan Japan

The interview on cultural travel tips for Japan is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Japan, tips for communicating in Japan, and strategies for doing business with Japan to help with understanding the culture in Japan. 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 Japan and tips for intercultural communication!

Interview Link:

Cultural Tips for Japan

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’, 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!

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.

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

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

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

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Avoid Awkward Encounters Globally! New Article in Virtuoso Life

Posted on September 5, 2015 by Leave a comment

Avoid Awkward Encounters Around the Globe      Virtuoso Life                  

DO arrive aware: Before your trip, research a bit about the country you’re headed to. “You don’t have to know a lot, but general awareness is important, and people will appreciate that you’re informed,” says Gayle Cotton, author of Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication.

Interview Link:

http://www.virtuoso.com/articles/Virtuoso-Life-September-2015-Issue/How-To-Dodge-Awkward-Encounters-Around-The-Globe

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’, 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!

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.

Website: www.gaylecotton.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

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

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

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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

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

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