Posts tagged with intercultural training

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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Attention Businesswomen! Checkout this Free Women’s Leadership Summit

Posted on June 13, 2015 by Leave a comment

Enhance your Global Communication Skills, Lead with Confidence, and Advance your Career!

I’ve been invited to speak at the Women Leadership Summit ‘Unlock the Power of You’ along with over 20 other leadership experts. 21 trailblazing women leaders came together to share their knowledge with you. Their lessons, advice, and strategies will help you take your career and leadership to the next level!

I will be speaking on Friday, June 19th at 11:00 am EDT, so please tune in!

The 11-day audio event begins on June 15th and it is FREE.

  • Learn from some of the most remarkable women leaders who have blazed the trail before you
  • Improve your communication skills to help you achieve the results you want on a global basis with anyone…anywhere
  • Discover how to overcome the obstacles that stand between you and your success

Click here to reserve your seat! www.womenleadershipsummit.net

I am also offering free attendance to my Webinar ‘Say Anything To Anyone Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ for those of you who want more in depth information! Webinar Link

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.

Contact Gayle for More Information

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 SCOTLAND

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 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

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

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BBC Interview: The World’s Best Cities for Expats from Quayaquil to Zurich!

Posted on March 8, 2015 by Leave a comment

Read my interview about living in Zurich, along with other expats living in Quayaquil Equador, Luxembourg City, Mexico City, and New York City!    

     DSC00878        

Whether assessing the local climate, calculating the cost of living or understanding how easily you can make friends abroad, choosing a new country to live in comes with plenty of considerations. But when all is said and done, expats in certain countries end up happier than those in others.

Read on! Living in the World’s Best Cities

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150214-living-in-the-worlds-best-cities-for-expats

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 ARCHIVES ‘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

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 RUSSIA

Currently 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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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!

Join us in the future for SAUDI ARABIA!

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

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

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: PORTUGAL Portugal2

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

Cultural Tips for Portugal

Business travel tips for Portugal that will pave the way!

When doing business in Portugal, conversation is somewhat informal, however still more formal than in the US when first meeting. It’s best to begin more formal, and then adapt to a more casual style as the relationship develops.

You can assume that most Portuguese business contacts will speak some English. They will also typically understand Spanish however Spanish speakers won’t necessarily understand Portuguese, because the pronunciation is especially difficult.

It’s typical to shake hands when greeting, and on a first meeting to exchange business cards. There may be more touching of arms or hands during handshake introductions that in northern European or the US cultures.

Developing good personal relationships is very important in business and will often be at least as significant a factor as the product or service you are offering.

People stand closer in conversation than in North America Northern Europe and maintain good eye contact.

In general, the Portuguese are relaxed about etiquette and public behavior, however it is considered impolite to stretch in public. Being polite and well behaved is what really matters.

Do not launch straight into the business at hand. Allow some time for small talk about business in general, about soccer, about the weather, or about your personal life and family.

If you want to get to know your business partners better, invite them for a cup of coffee, lunch, or dinner. This should be a time to socialize, so don’t bring up business unless they do first.

The Portuguese are rather reserved and prefer to avoid confrontation or verbal directness. You may find it difficult to get definite answers to all your questions. Try to get information by analyzing the statements being made.

Meetings tend to run long, and do not necessarily keep to an agenda or timetable. Gently focus the discussion or bring it to closure, but allow plenty of room for people to say what they have to say.

Never shout or lose your temper–it doesn’t work and ends up putting you in a weaker position.

The Portuguese have an instinct to please which also produces a tendency to say what they think you want to hear. Make sure you get specifics and quantification.

For negotiations, the key is patience and a willingness to educate your business partners about your way of doing things. The ‘carrot’ is generally more effective than the ‘stick’.

Overall, there is a willingness to be flexible and to learn. There is respect and admiration for more advanced methods and economies. You will find that there is considerable creativity and drive to resolve problems and adaptation to circumstances.

Status is important to the Portuguese. The use of academic titles and distinctions are very common. Job title and rank are less significant, although it is important to know the business hierarchy and who really makes the decision.

Consensus and a ‘win-win’ attitude is typically the underlying philosophy. The Portuguese are uncomfortable with explicitly competitive positions.

Teamwork may be weaker than in some cultures, because the Portuguese don’t like challenging authority. They also tend first to analyze their personal interest in an action or deal, so understanding ‘hidden agendas’ is an important skill.

The most important environmental factor is the bureaucracy and weak justice system. Labor laws are very tough, and there is a culture of state involvement in business and collectivist policies.

Portuguese businesspeople are expert at dealing with the last minute crisis. There is always someone around who will fix it or find a creative way through. Of course, the solution may not be completely inadequate–but a solution will be found.

Make sure you clarify specific and realistic deadlines and performance measures. ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘next week’ are relative terms in Portuguese. You’ll have to confirm that the deadlines are on track before you find that they have come and gone.

It’s necessary to have all agreements and commitments in writing, even if only an e-mail confirmation. Avoid writing anything in red ink, even small notes, because only school teachers correcting work are ‘allowed’ to write in red–otherwise it’s considered offensive.

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Tips

  • Soccer is a favorite topic of most all Portuguese
  • Food and wine, especially Portuguese wine
  • Family, your home, and children
  • Culture, music, and literature
  • Travel, history, and architecture

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Taboos

  • Religion, and all the usual controversial subjects
  • Politics in general
  • Personal finances, salary, career positions etc.
  • Personal compliments early in the relationship
  • Sports, other than soccer, may not be well recognized by some Portuguese

Bon Voyage! 

Join us in the future for Russia!

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for Portugal, doing business in Portugal, 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 PORTUGAL

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

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

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Leave a comment

Cultural Tips for Visiting China 

What World Leaders and Business Travelers Need to Know! 

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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Check Out My Recent Interview ‘Staying Connected as a Telecommuter’

Posted on July 26, 2014 by Leave a comment

Staying Connected As a Telecommuter: Refine Your Communication Skills! 

The interview featured on Careeranista.com at the following links:

Careeranista.com-Staying connected as a Telecommuter

http://www.careeranista.com/Articles/staying-connected-as-a-telecommuter.html

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 onAmazonas a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Education, and a distinguished ProfessionalKeynote 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.

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!

Soon on: Gayle’s blog

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

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

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My Interview ‘5 Tips for Intercultural Communication’ is on ITIM Italy

Posted on June 21, 2014 by Leave a comment

My Interview ‘5 Tips for Intercultural Communication’ is on ITIM Italy 

When travelling to a new country, especially on business trips, it’s important to know the cultural customs and traditions of the people. Communication is so different from country to country that it’s essential to prepare in advance so you can be as successful as possible. It’s interesting to read the interview by Viaggiamo.it because you can notice the difference in the Italian communication style simply by reading the interview…

http://www.itimitaly.it/en/2238-five-tips-for-a-successful-intercultural-communication-interview-with-gayle-cotton.html

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 Communications’, 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.

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!

Coming on: Gayle’s blog

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

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

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

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