Posts tagged with sayanythingtoanyoneanywhere

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

Posted on September 22, 2013 by Leave a comment

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

Israel 2

Most Israelis speak at a much closer distance than North Americans may be accustomed to so do not move away.

There is also more physical contact, and conversations often involve gestures and touching. Nevertheless, women business travelers should avoid initiating physical contact.

The standard greeting is “Shalom” or a cordial “Hello”, followed by a handshake.

Observant Orthodox Jewish men, whose appearance is usually distinguished by their skullcaps (yarmulkes) or hats and black clothing, do not shake hands with women.

If an Israeli holds your hand, take it graciously as a gesture of friendship.

For Israelis, constant gesturing is acceptable. But pointing is considered rude.

Refrain from any gesture that requires you to extend the thumb, as this is considered offensive (i.e. “thumbs up”/“thumbs down” signs, the hitchhiker’s signal, etc.).

Business cards are considered important, and should be printed in English. As an added touch, some visitors have the reverse side printed in Hebrew.

Given the diverse nature of the population, business practices may reflect North American, European, Russian, or other cultural influences.

Expect business to be straightforward and emphasize the “bottom line.”

In general, the pace of business is slower in Israel than in many places. You will have to exercise patience and tolerance.

Subjective feelings tend to form perceptions of the truth. Faith in the tenets of Judaism, including the conviction that the state must succeed, can also be a profound influence in thinking. Feelings and faith are supplemented by empirical evidence and other substantial facts.

Many Israelis tend to be confrontational and, at times, intensely emotional negotiators.

In the Israeli business culture, it usually takes a longer time to arrive at a final decision.

Israelis may delight in argument and tend to be opinionated. However, you don’t have to feel compelled to openly agree with what they say.

There is a tendency among Israelis to downplay their professional titles.

It’s likely that you will quickly be invited to move to a first-name basis in business.

The Jewish Holy Day, the Sabbath, begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Use in Conversation

  • Family, however don’t mix with business
  • Travel is always a good topic
  • Politics (if you know what you are talking about)
  • Sports – especially soccer, basketball and swimming
  • Food and drinks

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Use in Conversation

  • US aid in Israel
  • Religion in general
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Sex and roles of the sexes
  • Any controversial social issue in Israel 

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for ITALY!

Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert 

Author of the Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

Visit the Circles Of Excellence blog featuring

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: for PORTUGAL

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

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My article ‘Gestures to Avoid!’ is featured on the Entrepreneurs’ Org. Blog

Posted on September 14, 2013 by Leave a comment

My article ‘Gestures to Avoid in Cross-Cultural Business’, or in other words… ‘Keep Your Fingers to Yourself!’ from the Huffington Post is now being featured on the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) Blog ‘Overdrive’. Check it out at the following link: Figure 22-5-Finger Point Gesture-NEW-Shutterstock_125579198

Gestures to Avoid in Cross-Cultural Business:

http://blog.eonetwork.org/2013/09/gestures-to-avoid-in-cross-cultural-business/

 

 

My blog:  www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Website: www.gaylecotton.com  

Book website: Say Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Currently on my blog

Article on: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for IRELAND

Currently on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Article on: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for POLAND

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

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

Posted on August 11, 2013 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: IRELANDIreland-150x150

 

The Irish often have more of a relaxed attitude toward time. As a business traveler, however, you should always strive to be punctual for your appointments.

When meeting the Irish, the proper greeting is to shake hands and extend a warm greeting as you maintain eye contact. Handshakes should also be exchanged upon departure.

The Irish tend to value their personal space and will expect the same of you. If you speak in an animated manner, tone down your hand gestures.

Stand straight and sit with your feet situated flat on the floor. If men or women cross their legs, it shouldn’t be ankle over knee. It is preferable to cross ankle over ankle.

In a conversation between the Irish and visitors to the country, all participants are expected to maintain a low, moderate, tone of voice. Among friends, family, and perhaps closer acquaintances, it’s permissible for the volume and display of emotions to become more pronounced.

The Irish are resolute about their independence from English rule. Consequently, in conversation, refrain from putting Irish culture in the same category as English culture. These kinds of generalizations can jeopardize the business relationship you have worked so hard to establish.

Keep your hands out of your pockets, particularly when speaking.

Avoid using the North American expression, “Have a nice day”. It will come across as sounding questionable.

Pointing is accomplished by using the head or chin, rather than the fingers. Touching one’s nose is a sign of confidentiality. Use the index finger to indicate the number one, and the thumb for number five.

The peace sign or “V” made by extending the index and middle finger with the palm facing out, is an obscene gesture in Ireland and should be avoided.

In larger organizations, the boss is distinguished from others as the key decision-maker and authority figure. Subordinates usually do as they are told and may not express opinions or ideas.

The Irish tend to value a conservative demeanor, yet have an admiration for eccentrics, rebels, and artists.

Fewer women are a part of the higher ranks in Irish business culture, although they are slowly making progress.

If you place a high priority on having a tightly focused meeting, you will have to make some allowances. Generally speaking, the Irish don’t place much emphasis on closely following an agenda.

The Irish are far more animated speakers than the English. They can sometimes be described as prone to the legendary pastime of “blarney”, or embellishing the truth.

The Irish tend to be very “down-to-earth”, so ensure that any information you give is sensible and realistic.

The Irish tend to be polite, attentive listeners and will restrain themselves from interrupting, so do the same.

Don’t put pressure on the decision-making process. Efforts of any kind to obtain direct information or force a faster decision will only damage your relationship.

Welcome Topics of Conversation

  •  Irish writers such as Swift, Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, O’Casey, and Beckett have made great literary contributions. Knowledge and appreciation of Irish literature will ingratiate you with your Irish companions.
  • Your travels in Ireland
  • The Gaelic culture
  • Sports, especially Irish sports  and football (Soccer)
  • Food, drink and fun!

 

Conversation to Avoid

  • Avoid discussing Irish politics
  • Religion and religious differences in Ireland
  • Comparing the lives of the native Irish with Irish-Americans
  • Sex and roles of the sexes
  • Any controversial social issue in Ireland 

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for ISRAEL! 

Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

Author of the Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

 

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

Visit the Circles Of Excellence blog featuring

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: for POLAND

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

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My New Article on Asia is featured in the Upstart Business Journal!

Posted on July 1, 2013 by Leave a comment

Read my new article ’21 Cultural Clues for Doing Business in Asia’ currently featured in the Upstart Business Journal at the following link: Asia 2

Upstart Business Journal:

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/resources/author/2013/06/27/21-cultural-clues-for-business-in-asia.html

 

My blog:  www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Website: www.gaylecotton.com  

Book website: Say Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Currently on my blog

My new article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for IRAN

Currently on the Circles Of Excellence blog

The article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for PHILIPPINES

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

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

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Leave a comment

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

 

Although Iran is considered a part of the Middle East, it is important that you do not confuse Iranians with Arabs. Both have different languages, cultures and histories.

The official language of Iran is Persian – known as ‘Farsi’ to Iranians. Although it borrows many words from Arabic, it is a unique language.

Iranians are predominantly Shia Muslims. However, some Azeris, Kurds, Afghans, Beluchis and other ethnic minorities in Iran are Sunni. Shia Islam’s differences with the Sunni variety are limited and sometimes over emphasized.

People should always be mindful of their behavior in public. Clothes should be conservative and non-revealing. Avoid talking loudly. Do not hold hands with the opposite sex in public, unless these are children or older members of the family.

When meeting someone, always shake hands. As a male, you should wait to see if a woman extends her hand. If she doesn’t, then simply nod your head and smile.

When meeting someone for the first time, stick to formalities. Once a relationship has been established, your Iranian counterpart will quickly start to address you with your first name.

As a male in business, you will be expected to dress smartly and conservatively. A suit is standard, although wearing a tie is not necessary.

Women should wear conservative clothing that covers arms, legs and hair. When in public, women must cover their hair with a scarf. However, the last few years has seen incredible changes in what the authorities are willing to tolerate. Women can now be seen wearing make-up, jeans and scarves that barely cover the hair. However, as a foreigner it is best to err on the side of caution.

Business hours are Saturday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch is usually an hour at around 1 p.m. No business is done on Fridays.

Although many Iranians in business will have a good understanding of English, it is best to arrange for your own interpreter to accompany you.

At the beginning of any meeting, engage in small talk and ask about people’s health, family and work. Wait for your counterpart to initiate the transition in conversation to business matters.

Your success is defined by your ability to build effective personal relationships, combined with a clearly outlined and well-presented proposal.

Building a relationship with your Iranian counterparts is crucial. The first meeting should be focused solely on getting to know each other. Once a relationship has been established, you can move on to business matters.

Iranians are astute businesspeople. They enjoy haggling and getting concessions, so prepare for longer negotiations.

Decision making can be slow. It is most likely that you will meet and negotiate with less senior people first. Once you are seen as trustworthy and your proposal financially viable, you will move on to meet more senior members.

When negotiating, Iranians will start at extremes in order to gage your response. Prior to negotiations, know your target figure and work slowly towards it through meaningful concessions.

5     Key Conversation Tips

  • Iran, it’s language, culture and history
  • Discussing family in a general, non-intrusive way
  • Food, especially the variety of local cuisine
  • Sports, especially Football (Soccer) is always a good topic
  • Professionals will enjoy talking about their education and employment

5     Key Conversation Taboos

  • Questions about Islam, unless they are very simple, inquisitive questions
  • Contentious issues that may lead to heated discussion like the Revolution of 1979, Iranian-US relations, and Israeli foreign and domestic policy
  • Sex and roles of the sexes
  • Personal questions, unless a very close relationship has been established. Also don’t divulge too much personal information about yourself
  • Any negative comments about Iran regarding the leadership, infrastructure or people

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for IRELAND!

Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

Author of the Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

Visit the Circles Of Excellence blog featuring

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: for the PHILIPPINES

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

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Read My Interview About Global Expansion on ‘The Business News Daily’!

Posted on June 23, 2013 by Leave a comment

Busniess News Daily

Read My Interview About Global Expansion on ‘The Business News Daily’!                     

Read my interview on The Business News Daily about how businesses can prepare for global expansion. The topic is covered by a variety of experts!

‘Global Expansion Requires Cultural Preparation’

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4429-global-expansion-cultural-preparation.html

My blog:  www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Website: www.gaylecotton.com  

 Book website: Say Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Coming soon on my blog

My new article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for IRAN

Currently on the Circles Of Excellence blog

The article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for PERU

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

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

Posted on May 19, 2013 by Leave a comment

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

Generally, greetings among all Indonesians are conducted with stateliness and formality, in a slow, deliberate manner. A hurried introduction will be perceived as disrespectful.

Especially among Indonesian Chinese, handshakes are the standard greeting. Most Indonesian handshakes have a gentle grasp and last for 10-12 seconds. For subsequent meetings, it may also be appropriate to bow rather than initiate further handshakes. Bow your head, lower your eyes, and smile while saying the Indonesian greeting “Selamat”, which means “peace.”

The traditional Hindu greeting involves a slight bow with the palms of the hands together, as if praying. Older, traditional Hindus often use this greeting, called the “Namaste”. It is also an acceptable alternative to a handshake when a Western businesswoman greets a Hindu man.

With the exception of handshakes, there is no public contact between the sexes in Indonesia. Hugging and kissing, even between husbands and wives, are forbidden in public. Moreover, if a woman touches a Muslim man, he must ritually cleanse himself before praying again.

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

Be aware that many Indonesians believe that the head is the “seat of the soul.” Consequently, never touch someone’s head, not even to good-naturedly pat the hair of a child.

Among both Muslims and Hindus, the left hand is considered unclean so, whenever possible, should not be used in public. The right hand should be used exclusively to eat, accept gifts, hold cash, and touch people. These guidelines apply even if you are left-handed. However, you may use your left hand when there are absolutely no other realistic alternative.

Since the foot is also considered unclean, do not use this part of the body to point at, move or touch things. Also, refrain from resting your feet on desks or table. Do not show the soles of your feet or shoes. You can cross your legs at the knee, but not with one ankle over your knee.

Point with an open hand rather than with your index finger, which is considered rude. Chewing gum in public is discouraged.

There is a belief in Indonesia that the office is the only place to discuss business. Therefore, refrain from discussing business in a social situation, unless your Indonesian companions bring up the subject. Meals are often enjoyed with very little conversation.

To successfully hold a conversation, it’s essential for Indonesians to know if they are speaking with a person who is their superior, inferior or equal. Generally, they will feel uncomfortable until they learn your status, so there is a tendency to ask very personal questions.

Be careful when asking an Indonesian Chinese a question. For example, English speakers would give a negative answer to the question “Isn’t the document available?” by responding “no.” The Chinese interpretation is opposite. The answer would be “yes,” meaning “Yes, the document is not available.”

Although many government officials will speak some English, they may prefer to hold meetings in Bahasa Indonesia. Fortunately, English-speaking translators are usually easily accessible. Presentation material and company literature should be also translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

When you receive another person’s card, make a show of carefully examining it for a few moments and then remarking upon it 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.

Indonesians tend to be very friendly and you should reciprocate this immediate friendliness. They are more likely to buy from people who they genuinely like. Taking the time to develop solid, long-term personal relationships is of vital importance. In Indonesian business culture, relationships are based on respect and trust.

Meetings tend to be formal. The Indonesian participants will enter the room based on their hierarchical position and then take a seat. You will be expected to remain standing until this ritual concludes.

The majority of Indonesian businesspeople are Chinese, and they are likely to be prompt for meetings and appointments. Other businesspeople and many government officials are ethnic Malays, and they may place less of an emphasis on efficiency, punctuality and deadlines.

5 Key Conversation Tips

  • Talk about Indonesian traditions, culture, and architecture
  • Families and friends is always a welcome topic
  • Food, especially discussing the variety of local cuisine
  • Sports in general is always a good topic
  • The success and or future plans of your organization

5 Key Conversation Taboos

  • Commenting on Indonesian customs that you find unusual
  • Human rights, politics, the Military influence, bureaucracy, corruption
  • Sex and roles of the sexes
  • Over emphasizing your personal successes
  • It’s best to avoid religion and your personal religious preferences

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for IRAN!

Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

Author of the Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archivefor countries you may have missed!

Visit the Circles Of Excellence blog featuring

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos:for PERU

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

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

Posted on April 8, 2013 by Leave a comment

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

Talking about your friends and family is an important part of establishing a relationship with those involved in the negotiating process.

Conversation is considered an “art form” here; people will put a lot of time and effort into a discussion. This does not mean, however, that it should be overdone.

Indians tend to be enthusiastic about discussing politics and religion. They enjoy opinionated conversations and don’t necessarily want to hear only bland pleasantries from a foreign guest. Nevertheless, refrain from tackling these controversial subjects unless you are well-informed.

As long as you know what you’re talking about, you can air dissenting opinions freely. Otherwise, it will be in your best interests to remain silent, especially if the subject is India.

Indians of all ethnic groups disapprove of public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex. Refrain from greeting people with hugs or kisses. This includes most non westernized Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.

The traditional Indian greeting is the “namaste.” To perform the “namaste”, hold the palms of your hands together (as if praying) below the chin, nod or bow slightly, and say “namaste” (nah-mas-tay). This greeting is useful for foreigners in any circumstance in which a handshake might not be appropriate.

To beckon someone, you hold your hand out, palm downward, and make a scooping motion with the fingers. Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger, as in the United States, will often be perceived as an insult.

Pointing with your finger is considered rude, Indians prefer to point with their chin.

Feet are considered unclean, so never point your feet at another person. You will be expected to apologize whenever your shoes or feet touch another person.

Indians appreciate punctuality even though they may not always practice it themselves. Keep your schedule flexible enough for last-minute rescheduling of meetings.

The hierarchical nature of Indian society demands that the boss is recognized as the highest individual in authority.

When establishing business contacts, aim for those in the highest position of authority since decisions are made only at this level.

Although they usually do not make decisions, middle managers do have some influence. A middle manager on your side can forward your proposal. Often, they are more accessible and are usually willing to meet at any time of the day.

In Indian business culture, perceptions of the truth tend to be guided by feelings; a strong faith in religious ideologies is also common.

The caste system remains one of the most important influences in Indian society. Although technically there is equality under the law, inequality between the castes is an accepted reality of Indian life.

Since the word “no” has harsh implications in India, evasive answers are considered more polite. For example, if you have to decline an invitation, it’s more acceptable to give a vague and noncommittal answer such as “I’ll try” or “We’ll see” rather than “No, I can’t.”

Business in India is highly personal. It is also conducted at a much more leisurely pace than in the United States.

Hospitality is an intrinsic part of doing business in India; most business discussions will not begin until tea is served and there has been some preliminary “small talk.”

Talking about your friends and family is an important part of establishing a relationship with those involved in the negotiating process.

Expect Indian negotiators to be highly skilled and often looking for a ‘bargain’.

It will be in your best interests to mask any hostile feelings with a smile.

Welcome Topics of Conversation

  • Indian traditions, culture, architecture as well as that of other countries
  • Families, friends and other interesting people
  • Food is very important and they enjoy discussing their traditional fare
  • Cricket and other sports
  • Religion and general politics (if you know what you are talking about)

Conversation to Avoid

  • Personal matters or anything that might be considered overly intrusive
  • India’s military spending and specific politics
  • Poverty or foreign aid in India
  • Negative comments about their culture in general
  • Anything about India that you may have some hostile feelings towards

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for INDONESIA!

Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

Order My New Book: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Check out the Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos Articles Archive for countries you may have missed!

Visit the Circles Of Excellence blog for

Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: For Doing Business in Asia

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

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Global Etiquette – Cultural Tips to Keep in Mind for Any Culture!

Posted on March 22, 2013 by Leave a comment

Global Etiquette – Cultural Tips to Keep in Mind for Any Culture!NSW_25BushPrince01

Cultural 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.

The following tips on what to do and what to avoid will help you engage in successful global business and social interactions. They will help to avoid embarrassing faux pas and guide you toward establishing quality relationships and friendships.

Tips for what to do

  • Show respect. The most important of the global etiquette tips is to show respect for what is important to another person and his or her culture. Although cultural conditioning has deep roots, respect is universally understood—and is an essential step in bridging the cultural gap.
  • Show you care. Be proactive and learn about what’s important to the cultures you visit or interact with. This will help you win friendships and develop business relationships.
  • Strike a balance. Find the comfortable middle ground between your culture and that which you’re visiting or working with. No one expects you to be just like him or her, nor would that be congruent. Be yourself and adapt to develop rapport in a way that works for all concerned.
  • Know your geography. There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the exact location of the country you are visiting or the locality of its neighboring countries and surrounding areas!
  • Mind your manners. What is polite in one culture may not be considered so in another, so know your manners for the countries you visit.
  • Know how to address people. The practice of using first names, surnames, titles, university degrees, or religious designations varies from country to country, so learn what is appropriate.
  • Clearly enunciate and speak slower. Speak clearly and slightly slower—about 20 percent slower—when communicating across linguistic borders. There’s no need to speak louder— multilingual speakers may be cross-translating, but they aren’t deaf!
  • Define acronyms, slang, and jargon. Define, clarify, or eliminate any acronyms, abbreviations, slang, and jargon that other cultures may not understand or even worse —take literally.
  • Know the appropriate greetings. Greetings are as diverse as the cultures themselves. There are handshakes, kisses, hugs, and bows—and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Tips for what to avoid

  • Using rude hand gestures: Unless you are counting on your fingers, avoid any hand gestures that you think could be potentially offensive to other cultures so you don’t unintentionally offend someone.
  • Touching: Many cultures, including the U.S., southern European, and some Latin American cultures, are comfortable with back pats or having an arm, elbow, or shoulder touched. However, this might be uncomfortable and inappropriate for people from other cultures.
  • Appearing self-important: Although the United States is known to prize self-confidence and the entrepreneurial spirit, some cultures—including many in Europe and Asia—prefer a more humble, group-oriented approach in their communication style
  • Asking personal questions: When in doubt, it’s safest to wait to ask personal questions (about family, etc.) until someone poses these kinds of questions to you first.
  • Discussing religion: It’s safest to avoid touching on the topic of religion, unless the other person brings it up first. There is always a chance that religious prejudice could be a problem.
  • Discussing politics: It’s advisable to keep politics, global affairs, and even a country’s economic condition out of the conversation—again, unless the other person brings it up first.
  • Unintentionally causing embarrassment: People are embarrassed by different things in different cultures. Doing your research on the potentially embarrassing factors of specific cultures beforehand will help you avoid this.
  • Showing the soles of your shoes: This may seem like a strange one, but showing the sole of your shoe is offensive in many cultures, including the Middle East and parts of Asia.
  • Saying “no”: Many cultures, including the Asian and some Latin American cultures, consider saying “no” directly to be impolite.If pushed for a firm “no,” they will become very uncomfortable.

When it comes to cultural etiquette, no one expects perfection. Awareness is the first step in bridging the cultural gap. A little advance preparation and being observant will likely help you figure out most of what you need to know. If you enjoy working with or visiting other cultures, they are likely to enjoy the same with you!

My Bestselling Book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ is now available wherever books are sold!

Bon Voyage!

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Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

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Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

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