The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: JORDAN
Being on time for appointments is one thing that Jordanians admire in westerners. So, it is helpful for you to do so. However, it is typical of Jordanians to be around a half hour late.
During the month of Ramadan, business hours are shortened and work ends about two or three in the afternoon.
Jordanians normally mix personal conversation with business. A little personal conversation will help with the relationship building.
A loud voice may be considered domineering so don’t speak overly loud. Jordanians can be emotional in their conversation so you can show some emotion, just don’t raise your voice when you do.
It is quite normal to talk about money, wages, how and how much you pay for things as well as how old you are. However, it is considered impolite to discuss your relationship with your spouse.
Compliment giving is like entertainment, a source of pride, and done with good sportsmanship. Giving compliments is an important part of relationship building.
Avoid derogatory humor, even with friends. Personal put-downs, criticism and sarcasm are not well accepted.
Avoid making comments on current political events. The perspectives of the east and the west can be very divisive.
Honor is very important in the Jordanian culture. Questioning the honor of someone is a sure way to destroy the relationship.
Lots of titles are used. Social standing is based on the level of education, age, military rank, tribal position and political office.
Negotiating a deal is one of the things Jordanians love most. It is like a sport and they thoroughly enjoy it. Have fun at it too! One of their mottos is, “Everything is always negotiable”.
Your first meeting should start with full introductions and exchange of business cards. Every other meeting should also include greetings. This is an important part of relationship building and the foundation of business. \
Business moves at different speeds, it can be quite slow or very fast depending on the situation. Excessive stalling is a polite way of saying that there is no interest in continuing the business discussion.
Jordanians stand closer than most westerners are used to. Stand about half the distance apart as you typical would in western cultures.
Patting or holding the arm or shoulder can be a sign of affection, acceptance, or an offer of assistance.
Holding hands indicates emotional attachment and is appropriate in same sex relationships like a ‘father and son’ or brothers.
5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation
- Sincere personal compliments
- Praising the Jordanian hospitality
- Social conversation on topics of mutual interest and vision
- History, language, culture, art, music
- Sports, especially soccer which they call ‘football’
5 Keys Topics to Avoid in Conversation
- Current events and politics
- Religious preferences
- Eastern versus western philosophies
- Anything that negatively affects personal honor and pride
- Criticism of any type
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