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Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for TURKEY

Posted on April 6, 2017 by Comments are off

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

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Turkey is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Turkey, tips for communicating in Turkey, and business strategies for Turkey to help with understanding the culture in Turkey. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Turkey and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Turkey – including some valuable business travel tips for Turkey!

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

Business is personal. Although this is changing with the influx of big multi-nationals and a more corporate culture in some of the larger companies, many businesses are still family owned and run.

Where professional titles exist, such as Doctor or Professor, always use them.

Business dress is somewhat conservative, so you will be expected to wear a suit and tie. Similarly, women should wear fashionable professional outfits.

In the summer, especially in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir and Anakara, the weather is very hot and humid so it is acceptable for men to wear a shirt with trousers and in most cases not to wear a tie.

There is a West-East divide in Turkey on the issue of Islam. Generally, the Eastern Turks are a lot more conservative due to their closer adherence to Islamic values. Western Turks, especially those in Istanbul, Ankara or Izmir are usually a lot more westernized. Islam takes on more of a cultural feel rather than a religious one. Depending on where you are, be careful how you approach any topic about Islam.

Turks will want to do business with those they like, trust, feel comfortable with and with those that can provide a long-term relationship.

The first meeting should be solely focused on getting to know each other. Once a relationship has been established, you can safely move on to business matters.

When meeting, shake hands firmly. When departing, it is not always customary to shake hands–although it is occasionally done so follow the cues. Friends and relatives will greet each other with either one or two kisses on the cheek.

When entering a room, if you are not automatically met by someone, greet the most elderly or most senior first. At social occasions, greet the person closest to you, then work your way around the room or table counter-clockwise.

Holding hands with someone from the opposite sex is acceptable in the cities and vacation areas. In rural Turkey and the East, this would be frowned upon.

The Turkish gestures for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ can be quite confusing. ‘Yes’ is indicated with a nod of the head upwards, while ‘no’ is also an upward nod but accompanied by the raising of the eyebrows. A sure sign that a ‘no’ is meant is if it is accompanied with a hissing of the teeth.

Queues do not operate as they do in the US or Europe. It is not uncommon for people to jump queues or even go straight to the front. It is best to be patient and politely point out that you were in the line before them–although most of the time this will make little difference

Turks are very astute businesspeople. Ensure any proposal clearly demonstrates the mutual benefit and profitability of any agreement or partnership.

When negotiating, the Turks may start at extremes to gage your response. Prior to negotiations know your target figure and work slowly towards it through meaningful concessions.

It may not always be necessary to focus solely on financial benefits when negotiating. It is Also useful to point to areas such as power, influence, honor, respect and other non-monetary incentives.

Decision making can be slower than in many other cultures. It is likely that you will meet and negotiate with less senior members of the company first. Once you seen as trustworthy and your proposal financially viable, you will move on more senior leaders. A decision is ultimately made by the most senior in charge.

Most business entertaining will take place in restaurants. Turks enjoy food, and the meal is a time for relaxing and engaging in some good conversation outside of business.

The protocol of Turkish hospitality is that the host always pays for the meal. The concept of sharing a bill is completely alien to them. You may try and offer to pay to be polite, but you will likely not be allowed to do so. The best policy is graciously to thank the host, then a few days later invite the host to dinner at a restaurant of your choice and inform the restaurant manager that they are not accept payment from your guests.

Evening meals may be accompanied by some alcohol, however since many Turks don’t drink be sure to let your host be the guide on this. Tea or Turkish coffee is served at the end of a meal, sometimes with pastries. Turkish coffee is a national drink and should at least be sampled.

If you visit a mosque, never enter with your shoes on. There is always a rack where shoes can be kept. Make sure your feet are clean and will not bring in dust or mud. Men should not wear shorts and must wear a shirt or t-shirt. Women should be covered fully, especially their hair. If you do not have a scarf, ask an attendant as some are usually put aside for foreign visitors.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • Ask about family is good if it’s not prying. Questions about children is welcomed.
  • The Turks are proud of their country and will enjoy answering questions on their culture and history, although it’s best to avoid political history.
  • Turkey is a beautiful and most interesting country with many notable places or of interest to visit, so be sure to ask about the things to see in your location – which the Turks will love to share pointer about,
  • The marvelous seafood and cuisine is always a good topic of discussion.
  • Most Turks love football (soccer), and will enthusiastically discuss their favorite team!

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Outside the big cities, especially in the East of Turkey, both women and men should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops due to the adherence to Islamic values.
  • When seated opposite someone, don’t sit with your legs apart, or cross your legs where the sole of your shoe is pointed at someone because this is considered an insult.
  • Avoid giving opinions over sensitive issues involving Turkey, especially Turk-Kurdish relations and current issues with the EU .
  • Turkey has had a turbulent political history which may be best left in the past. Avoid this topic unless they bring it up first, and then listen rather than give opinions.
  • Since Turkey is primarily a Muslim country, before suggesting alcoholic drinks with someone be sure that they drink.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for THAILAND!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the cultural communication styles for 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

Watch the ‘Say Anything-5 Keys’ Video

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, 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, Leadership 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 training programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural Diversity, Customer Service, Leadership Coaching, Presentation Skills, Sales Negotiations, Stress Management, Teambuilding, and Time Management Training.

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

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Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for TAIWAN

Posted on February 9, 2017 by Comments are off

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

 It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Taiwan is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Taiwan, tips for communicating in Taiwan, and strategies for doing business with Taiwan to help with understanding the culture in Taiwan. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Taiwan and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Taiwan – including some valuable business travel tips for Taiwan!

Local contacts are extremely important in Taiwan, so it’s a good idea to request a personal introduction from the Commerce department, a bank, or from a high-ranking individual at a well-known business.

In Taiwanese business culture, relationships are based on respect and trust, so you will be expected to take time to build rapport and good will. The Taiwanese are generally suspicious of Westerners, so work on this in the early stages of your visit, and expect to make several trips to establish the relationship.

Although punctuality is expected from foreign visitors, Taiwanese business culture has more of a relaxed attitude toward time, so your Taiwanese counterpart may arrive a bit late for an appointment. The Taiwanese work ethic is exceptionally strong, and they often work 12 to 15 hour work days.

Staying out until late in the evening at bars, nightclubs, or restaurants is a way of life in Taiwanese business culture, so it’s best to schedule morning appointments for late in the morning.

Bowing is not as common as in other parts of China, particularly in business culture. A simple nod is more common, followed by handshakes and the exchange of business cards. Make sure that you bring a plentiful supply of business card, because you will be expected to exchange them with practically everyone you meet.

Your name, company, and title should be printed in English on one side and if possible, in Mandarin Chinese on the reverse side. In Taiwan, the first name you see will probably be the person’s last name or family name, followed by the person’s first name or given name. In addition, the Taiwanese may also adopt Western names for the benefit of the English-speakers they will be meeting.

Present your card facing up with both hands, held between the thumbs and forefingers. Receiving another person’s business card is considered an honor, so carefully examine it and then remark about it before carefully putting it in your card case or the table in front of you for a meeting.  Never accept a business card and then immediately stuff it into your pocket.

Humility and harmony is very important in Taiwan. Do not enter an office until you are invited, and don’t seat yourself until you are asked to do so. The Taiwanese usually begin a meeting with good-natured “small talk”, and you will probably be taken to an informal sitting area and served coffee and tea. Allow your Taiwanese counterpart to bring up the subject of business.

Follow the Taiwanese business etiquette and wait to be introduced to new people. If there is someone, in particular, you want to meet, it’s best to have a third person introduce you.

The standard Asian handshake is gentle compared to western cultures, and lasts around 10-12 seconds. Taiwanese women will rarely shake hands, and Western men should not offer to shake hands with them unless they extend their hand first. Western women may initiate a handshake with Taiwanese men.

The question “Have you eaten?” is the equivalent to “How are you?” in North America. it’s simply a superficial inquiry that does not require a detailed answer. Simply answer “yes”, even if you haven’t eaten.

Don’t be surprised if your Taiwanese business associates ask personal questions such as, “What is your salary?” or “How much did that cost?” These questions are considered acceptable and should be answered– even if indirectly.

Much of communication is implied in Taiwan, so your use of eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures play an important part in getting across your intended message, however keep eye contact to a minimum with those senior to you, and avoid expansive greetings, gestures, and physical contact.

Remain calm and composed at all times, and don’t display your emotions. It is crucial that you understand and respect the concept of “saving face”, and never embarrass anyone in public by losing your temper or raising your voice. Any form of criticism is always done in a private, in a “one-on-one” meeting.

Since the Taiwanese will rarely be blunt enough to say “no”, you will need to listen carefully and “read between the lines” to determine if a response is negative. For example, a reply of, “We’ll see”, may actually mean, “No, we won’t”, and “I’ll consider it” may imply, “No, I don’t want to.”

If someone compliments you during a conversation, respond by insisting that you are not worthy of such praise. Don’t acknowledge by saying “thank you” or by affirming it in any other way. Instead, remain as modest and self-effacing as possible. However, this should not stop you from sincerely complimenting another person since this will be appreciated.

Expect Taiwanese businesspeople to be shrewd negotiators. Bargaining is a way of life, so be prepared to make compromises. Your negotiating team should include people with seniority and a comprehensive knowledge of your company. Including an older person in your delegation will be essential to your success, since this culture deeply respects age and status, and sending a senior representative shows that your organization is serious about the relationship.

Sending your proposals in advance for your host to review is often a good strategy. It’s helpful to have written materials translated in Mandarin Chinese by a professional. Be prepared to discuss all aspects of your proposal in detail, and summarize the major points at the beginning and the end.

At the negotiating table, the member of your team with the highest seniority should sit in the middle of one long side. The second-ranked person will sit at his right, their third ranked person to his left, and so on. The Taiwanese side will do the same, so you will be able to identify the “key players” on their side. If you are sitting on a sofa and chairs, follow the same arrangement. When passing through a doorway allow the elders to pass first — even if you need to insist because they initially refuse.

Any breach of trust will not be tolerated and is a serious violation of Taiwanese business protocol.

Avoid discussing money early on, although it is an obvious priority. In Taiwanese business culture, establishing a trustworthy business relationship is often considered a higher priority than profits.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Tips

  • You’ll often find that the Taiwanese are fans of American baseball
  • Family is a good topic, because in the Taiwanese business culture an exemplary family life is perceived as a sign of character
  • The Taiwanese enjoy talking about all types of travel, including their country or your country
  • The will enjoy hearing about what you’ve enjoyed about Taiwan so far, and what you would like to visit and do while you are there
  • Personal space is important to the Taiwanese, so plan to stand about two arm’s lengths away from another person.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Taboos

  • Avoid pats on the back, putting your arm around someone, or any form of touching in communication like resting your hand on someone’s arm
  • The Taiwanese point with an open hand because pointing with a finger is socially unacceptable. Beckon by extending your arms palm down and waving your fingers.
  • Winking at someone, even as an innocent gesture of acknowledgement, is considered unacceptable.
  • Feet are considered dirty in this culture and should not touch things or people. When seated, men should keep their feet flat on the floor. Women may cross their legs, but should avoid pointing the soles of their shoe at anyone.
  • Avoid discussing their relationship with mainland China, local politics, or communism.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for TURKEY 

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SWITZERLAND

Posted on November 4, 2016 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SWITZERLAND – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z swiss-flag

 It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Switzerland is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Switzerland, tips for communicating in Switzerland, and strategies for doing business with Switzerland to help with understanding the culture in Switzerland. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Switzerland and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Switzerland – including some valuable business travel tips for Switzerland!

The culture of Switzerland is made up of four subcultures: the German, French, Italian, and 1% indigenous population who speak Romansch.

The handshake is the most common greeting in Switzerland, and Swiss Germans may shake hands upon both meeting and departing.

The Swiss French and Swiss Italians may shake hands and give you an “air kiss” or an embrace, depending on the rapport they have established with you. Men in either of these regions will embrace close friends, but will not kiss.

When doing business in Switzerland, punctuality is necessary on all occasions, whether business or social. This is especially true in the German speaking areas, where arriving even five minutes late for a business or social engagement can be offensive. The French and Italian speaking areas tend to be slightly more relaxed about time, but punctuality is still the best policy.

Female business travelers should have no problem as long as they remain highly professional, and while many women hold high-level positions, there are still fewer than in some cultures.

The Swiss may initially seem reserved or even standoffish, however once you develop a rapport with them, you’ll find that they are very honest, responsible people, who will be loyal to your interests.

It takes longer to develop personal relationships in Switzerland, however, with time and patience, the bond you establish will prove to be very beneficial.

The Swiss are very private people, so avoid asking personal questions about family, age, marital status, religion etc. unless they bring it up first.

Whether in a social or business situation, the Swiss are polite and pay close attention to what you say to them. They are very good listeners and rarely interrupt.

Although the use of first names in business is becoming more common, initially address your Swiss contact by “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Mrs.” until you are invited the use their first name.

The Swiss are very controlled, so maintain control over your emotions and show a disciplined approach in what you do.

The way you sit, stand, and project yourself are very important. You can expect the Swiss to pay close attention to your posture.

Business is regarded as serious, and humor has little place in discussions. Cracking jokes during a meeting will probably not be well received.

Swiss Germans will usually get right down to business, however the Swiss French and Swiss Italians will expect some preliminary “small talk” and may even offer you a drink.

Business presentations should be clear and concise, and while the Swiss are very straightforward in negotiations, they make a genuine effort to see matters from the opponent’s perspective.

In the Swiss business culture, there is a reluctance to take risks so they will require substantial information before agreeing to a new plan or procedure.

Typically, the Swiss German and Swiss French rely on empirical evidence and objective facts for evidence, while the Swiss Italians may rely more on subjective feelings.

The Swiss have a reputation for getting the best possible deal without ever appearing aggressive or demanding. Their quiet self-confidence, combined with the exceptional quality and value of their goods and services, allows them to avoid the “hard-sell” or other high-pressure tactics.

Hierarchy and rank is more important in the German-speaking area compared to the French and Italian speaking areas, however individuals with seniority, rank, and authority assume an air of modesty and remain discreet in exercising their power.

The Swiss will not rush to a decision, and while the final decision may come from the top, it is also consensus based in the fact that everyone involved must be accepting of it.

Once a decision is made, the Swiss are very reliable, efficient, and can be trusted to follow through. They are also very good at maintaining confidentiality.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • The Swiss are always interested in world affairs.
  • The natural beauty of Switzerland, and where to visit is an excellent topic.
  • The distinct varieties of foods from the different subcultures.
  • Sports of all kinds, especially all winter sports!
  • The excellent quality of Swiss products, for example watches and chocolate.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • Avoid asking personal questions, or discussing family, unless they bring it up at some point in your relationship.
  • It’s considered impolite to stand and talk with your hands in your pockets.
  • Avoid any form of back patting.
  • Point using your full hand, because pointing with your index finger is considered impolite, or even obscene by some.
  • Don’t be overly demonstrative with body language or tonality or you won’t be taken seriously.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for TAIWAN!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SWEDEN

Posted on October 21, 2016 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SWEDEN – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z sweden-flag

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Sweden is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Sweden, tips for communicating in Sweden, and strategies for doing business with Sweden to help with understanding the culture in Sweden. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Sweden and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Sweden – including some valuable business travel tips for Sweden!

When doing business in Sweden, keep in mind that it is a humanitarian culture, where the quality of life and environmental issues are highly emphasized.

Swedes prefer to stand a bit further apart in their interactions than some cultures, and rather than relying on nonverbal forms of communication, it’s best to keep your body language and hand gestures to a minimum,

With the exception of the handshake, Swedes don’t have a lot of physical contact, so avoid backslapping, embracing, or touching.

They shake hands upon arriving and departing. It’s done swiftly and firmly, and smiling or other nonverbal communication usually doesn’t accompany it — especially if you haven’t previously met.

The Swedish business approach is more formal than informal, so no gum chewing, slouching, or leaning against things.

Keep your emotions to a minimum, as a cool, calm, and matter of fact manner approach is preferred. Swedes are also somewhat quiet, so speak in a subdued, modulated tone of voice.

Swedes are a proud people, but they never brag. While they respect someone with established knowledge and experience, you should never flaunt it. Instead show them by being well prepared, detail oriented, and logically organized which is important to get Swedes to accept an outside idea.

Facts and figures are crucial, and must be clearly outlined and detailed. Swedes emphasize the content of a presentation, not its colorfulness or flashy appearance.

The Swedish education teaches them to think conceptually and analytically, so they often look to universal rules or laws to solve problems.

The first business meeting will likely be low key, with the Swedes evaluating you, your company, and your proposal. Confirm all meetings well in advance, and never abruptly change the time and place.

Swedes believe in promptness, so it is important to arrive on time or it could be taken as a sign of disrespect or lack of interest. They also strictly follow the scheduled beginning and ending times of a meeting.

Swedes are fashionably well-dressed, and for business a more a conservative dress is appropriate with men wearing suits and ties, and women wearing suits or dresses. Subdued colors are a better choice than flashy colors.

Women and men are treated as equals in Sweden, so expect decision-makers to be of either gender.

Decision making may fall to the middle or lower parts of the hierarchy in Sweden, and there is an emphasis on teamwork and compromise.

Consensus is valued, and Swedes will try to avoid confrontation because they never want to personally offend someone.

Sincerity and seriousness, rather than friendliness, are the preferred business attitudes. Complimenting in public is not usually done, unless it applies to the whole group. There is no individualized element of competition or wanting to stand out.

Swedes typically get right down to business with little or no small talk. In conversation, it’s important to maintain eye contact as much as possible.

Swedes are very comfortable with long pauses and silence in the conversation, so it would be a mistake to hurriedly try to fill in the pauses.

The Swedish sense of humor is unique, and sometimes not understood by everyone. It’s not typical for humor to be used in serious meetings or negotiations.

Swedes will avoid arguing over sensitive topics, especially with visitors. If a discussion of this kind begins, a Swede may abruptly stop it.

Negotiations in Sweden can take time, but once a deal has been finalized and signed, you can rest assured that the Swedes will uphold their end of responsibility

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness.
  • It’s helpful to show a knowledge of Swedish things, especially those that distinguish the Swedes from the Scandinavian cultures of Finland, Norway, and Denmark.
  • The Swedes love nature and the outdoors, so talk about anything related to Sweden’s natural beauty or sports — like hockey and soccer.
  • Swedes enjoy discussing philosophy, the arts, travel, current events, and even politics if it’s not critical of Sweden’s socialized structure.
  • There is a great deal of pride in the local regions of Sweden, so it’s appreciated when you know something about the specific region you’re visiting.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • Asking personal questions, or discussing family unless they bring it up at some point in your relationship.
  • Don’t be superficial in any way, and avoid personally complimenting someone you just met.
  • Avoid any showiness or bragging about rank, status, success, or income. The Swedes are very understated about this.
  • Don’t use a lot of superlatives when speaking, because Swedes are opposed to stretching the truth in any way.

 

  • Swedes don’t like complainers, so even when things seem slow or process driven, it’s best not to show signs of impatience.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for Switzerland!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.co 

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

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New Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for SPAIN

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for SPAIN – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z spain-flag

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on a social and business relationship. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure they understand the culture of the country that they’re taking a business trip to.

The interview on cultural travel tips for Spain is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Spain, tips for communicating in Spain, and strategies for doing business with Spain to help with understanding the culture in Spain. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Spain and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for Spain – including some valuable business travel tips for Spain!

When doing business in Spain, keep in mind that many businesses are closed from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, since people often return home to have their main meal with their family and take an afternoon siesta

Although you should be punctual yourself, don’t be alarmed if you are kept waiting for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In addition, parties and other social events rarely begin at their scheduled time.

A wide range of gestures regularly accompany conversation. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have difficulty understanding these gestures, especially since the meanings often vary from region to region.

Be sensitive to regional differences because making misinformed comments about a Spaniard’s region of origin is considered an insult (for example, mistaking a Catalonian for a Basque).

First-time introductions with Spaniards should be made in a formal manner. Extend a brief but firm handshake while maintaining eye contact.

In the company of friends, it’s common for men to hug or pat each other on the back in addition to the handshake.

Women sometimes lightly embrace, then touch cheeks while lightly kissing the air. They may also greet a Spanish man who is a particularly close friend in this way.

Although there may be less Spanish women in management positions, businesswomen in Spain are treated with respect, as long as you dress and behave in a professional manner.

While women are fully accepted in their business roles, it’s important for them to understand that machismo is very important to some Spanish men, so they often feel the need to be in control of the situation.

Spaniards stand close together when talking, and may also pat your arm or shoulder to make a point. Don’t move away, or it may cause offense.

Another common Spanish gesture is snapping the hands downward to emphasize a point.

Spain is a very religious country, so many people will be offended if they hear you take the Lord’s name in vain, and it’s best to refrain from swearing in the presence of others.

The Spanish business culture is extremely hierarchical, and only bosses, known as “el jefe” or “el padron,” have the authority to make decisions. Generally, subordinates follow orders, obey authority, and solve any problems before they surface.

Be aware that it would be frowned upon if you spent a great deal of time and attention on someone who is of lesser rank than you. It’s better to spend time with those who would be considered your “business equal”.

Make the effort to adapt to the Spanish business ways, because it demonstrates your respect for their culture and shows that you are flexible.

Don’t expect to discuss business at the start of any meeting. Spaniards want to become acquainted with you before proceeding to business, so be accommodating and answer any questions they may have about your background. On the flip side, it’s best not to ask them too many personal questions during first introductions.

Feelings are strongly relied on in the Spanish business culture. Consequently, it’s important that you work at building a good rapport with your Spanish counterparts.

Although Spaniards are receptive to new information and ideas, you may find that they don’t change their minds easily. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise.

Don’t be concerned if you are interrupted while talking, and don’t take it as an insult. Spanish interruptions most often indicate a genuine and enthusiastic interest in the discussion.

As in many Asian countries, you must do everything you can to prevent yourself and others from “losing face”, so be very careful to avoid any kind of criticism or embarrassment.

Spaniards will often insist that everything is in perfect order, even when this is not the case. This is a “face-saving” measure to appear competent and in control. Pay close attention during conversations to discern what is really going on.

Decision-making and negotiations in Spain can be slow, and various levels of hierarchy are consulted as aspects of a proposal are analyzed. After a successful negotiation, gifts are sometimes exchanged to mark the happy occasion.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness.

All types of sports, and especially soccer!

Architecture, music, art, culture, and anything related to the country or region’s beauty.

Travel, places you’ve visited, and your home country.

Good, wine, and especially the food or wine of the regions in Spain you are visiting.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

The North American “O.K.” sign (making a circle of the first finger and thumb) is considered vulgar and should never be used.

Summoning a person by curling your index finger is considered rude. Instead, turn your palm down and wave your fingers or entire hand.

Bullfighting is a revered art form here. Consequently, it will be in your best interests to refrain from airing any criticisms about it.

Avoid placing too much of an emphasis on your professional experience and business success during a conversation. In the Spanish culture, the quality of your character is the best measure of respect

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for Sweden!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle’s Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

Gayle’s Bestselling Book: SAY Anything to Anyone Anywhere!

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

 

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Not Knowing = Not Selling! How to Sell to Different Cultures

Posted on August 1, 2015 by Comments are off

Not Selling2Not Knowing = Not Selling! How to Sell to Different Cultures

In today’s global business marketplace, the ability to sell to and communicate effectively with different cultures cannot be underestimated. I found this out very quickly when I lived and worked in Switzerland. I didn’t expect that there would be specific things about me that would have a negative impact when promoting my company’s Cross-Cultural Training Seminars. However, I found out very quickly that I had 3 very specific strikes against me. First I was American, and their attitude was “what could an American teach them about culture?” Second I was female, and there are still considerably fewer business women at high levels in Swiss business. Third I was blonde, and yes — the dumb blonde jokes are global! I decided that I needed to adapt my image and my communication approach to better fit their expectations. That consisted of classic, professional suits; hair in a French twist, and high heels since I’m short. For a group of senior bankers in Zurich, I even wore fake eyeglasses! I also changed my communication style to be more factual, direct, and to the point, something which the Swiss appreciate. I smiled less, minimized my tonal modulations, and was less demonstrative in my body language, gestures, and facial expressions. And – it worked!

Now, you don’t have to travel outside the United States to experience this. The U.S. is a melting pot of people from all over the world. And even though the standard rule ‘When in Rome – do as the Romans’ may apply, we sometimes don’t position ourselves in the best light, and subtly rub someone the wrong way with our actions, gestures, communication style, or even perhaps how we look.

Common Cross-Cultural Mistakes That Are Made When Developing Transcultural Relationships

  • Not being proactive and not adapting to different cultural business expectations. It’s all too easy to get off on the wrong foot and become reactive – especially in the sales process.
  • Not knowing how formality, hierarchy, and timing can affect business interactions, the sales process, and decision making with different cultures. These things can have a tremendous impact on negotiations. Not knowing = not selling.
  • Having your enthusiasm perceived as aggressive, impatient, or even arrogant! Developing a sales relationship often takes longer with different cultures, especially in other countries, so plan accordingly.
  • Coming across as egocentric or too ‘I’ oriented. Many cultures are more team focused or ‘we’ oriented than the typical salesperson in the U.S. This can also greatly impact your choice of marketing style and material.
  • Unintentionally offending someone with your choice of body language or gestures. This is one of the biggest cultural taboos, and can be very difficult to recover from. A basic guideline is to use open- handed gestures. Don’t point with your index finger, don’t use the OK sign, and don’t use the thumbs up or thumbs down gestures. They are likely to subtly offend someone somewhere – even in the U.S.

How can you proactively prepare for multicultural sales?

Awareness is the 1st step! Observe how people communicate with you in person, on the phone, and by email. Notice if they are more formal and expressive, or more direct and to the point. They are telling you how they like to be communicated with so model their style.

If doing business in another country — know your facts. Be aware of the relevant historical data, economic issues, major industries, and geography to name a few. There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing your facts or geography!

To develop cultural rapport, learn what is important to other cultures. For example, it made international headlines a few years ago when Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited President Bush at his Crawford ranch. They were photographed strolling hand in hand through the bluebonnet garden. This was an important sign of their friendship and trust. Sometimes you may even need to go a bit beyond your comfort zone to establish rapport!

Know a few words in the language of the country. 5 simples phrases: “My name is”, “Nice to meet you”, “Please”, “Thank you”, and “Sorry, I only speak a little of your language”. Another phrase that will always be useful is the toast of the land, “Cheers!”

Keep in mind that we are blending and homogenizing into a global culture, so even with all the knowledge we acquire, we can’t ever take cultural tendencies for granted. As soon as you do — you’ll be surprised by something completely unexpected!  That’s why observation and awareness is so important.

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

  1. Create Proactive Communication: Stay out of the reactive cycle. Focus on positioning yourself, your product, and your company so that it facilitates partnerships and trust. This is an important first step before jumping into the business at hand.
  2. Rapport Secrets: Adapt your marketing material, sales style, and business approach to the cultural preferences of the customer.
  3. Organize Productive Interactions: Work towards collaboration and a ‘win-win’ outcome for all parties. This helps to avoid conflict and cultural sensitivities. It establishes trust, and influences decision-makers.
  4. Strategies for Relationships: Create strategies based on cultural expectations, and incorporate the appropriate level of formality. Understand the business hierarchy, the decision making protocol, and the timing necessary for sales cycles.
  5. Success Leaves Clues: Learn the Dos and Taboos of the country and cultures you sell to and partner with. Notice what works and what doesn’t. Change your approach based on the results, and enjoy the process!

Bon Voyage… Cheers to successful multicultural sales in 2015!

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 countries 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 conference speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the industry of professional motivational speakers and professional public speakers. Known for her cross-cultural communication books and intercultural training, she is among the best of female keynote speakers, women motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is a cross-cultural speaker and expert on social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide, entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her fresh and unique style, and is sure to please any audience with her charm, wit, and humor!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

 

Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Gayle Cotton’s speaker website: www.gaylecotton.com

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Gayle Cotton’s book website: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

Soon on: Gayle Cotton’s blog

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

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

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

Posted on May 16, 2015 by Comments are off

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

The article ‘Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for South Korea’ is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for South Korea, tips for communicating in South Korea, and strategies for doing business with South Korea to help with understanding the culture in South Korea. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to tips for intercultural communication!

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book, SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the field of professional public speakers, professional motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers, She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers, and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Cultural Tips for South Korea – including some valuable business travel tips for South Korea!

When doing business in South Korea, tone down hand motions and facial expressions when talking or laughing because being too animated or demonstrative is frowned upon.

Keep your voice tone moderate since they generally speak in a soft voice.

Third party introductions are usually preferred, so wait to be introduced to another at gatherings and parties.

South Korean men greet each other with a slight bow, and sometimes an accompanying handshake, while maintaining eye contact. Respect may be added by supporting your right forearm with your left hand during the handshake.

Bow at the beginning and end of a meeting. An exit bow that is longer than the greeting bow is a sign that the meeting went well.

The junior person will initiate the greetings and be the first to bow. The senior person will be the first to offer his hand. A gentle handshake or nod of the head may also be sufficient in business so follow their lead.

While this is slowly changing, women in the South Korean business culture often don’t shake hands. Western men should not try to shake hands with a Korean woman; Western women will usually need to initiate a handshake with Korean men.

Elderly people are highly respected, so it is good manners to greet and speak to them first and spend a few minutes with them. Complimenting an elder’s good health is always appreciated.

Gift-giving is often practiced in a business setting. Good gifts for a first trip include office items with your company logo or something that is commemorative of your home region. Your gift should be of good quality but modestly priced. Use both of your hands when giving or receiving a gift. Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver.

South Koreans may be asked personal questions regarding your age, salary, education, religion, and family life because they think that they can establish rapport by finding common denominators. These questions may also be asked to determine your status–which means everything in South Korean business culture.

Since you will be judged according to your status, your title should be emphasized on your business card. This gives the recipient an idea of your job responsibility and assists him or her in determining the amount of decision-making authority you have.

In this culture, it is considered important to keep business cards in immaculate condition. Investing in a business card case will allow your cards to stay well preserved. Writing on a business card is perceived as a sign of disrespect.

Present your business card with two hands or, at their lead, with your right hand. When you receive another person’s card, carefully examine it and then make a positive remark before putting it in your card case or on a nearby table. Accepting a business card and then immediately stuffing it into your back pocket will be perceived as disrespectful.

Modesty is very important in South Korea. When you are paid a compliment during a conversation, respond by saying that you are not worthy of such praise. It’s best not to acknowledge a compliment by saying “thank you” or you affirm it. However, this should not stop you from complimenting another person, since compliments are still very much appreciated.

South Koreans have an intense pride in their country and a rich sense of its history. Consequently, it is important that you make every effort not to confuse the history and culture with other Asian countries, especially Japan. It’s also best not to bring gifts from Japan or talk about your contacts or travels there.

South Koreans avoid saying, “No”, directly, so answer questions affirmatively in a positive way, even when you have to deliver negative information.

Many forms of physical contact are considered disrespectful. Gestures such as touching someone on the back or on the person’s arm are discouraged. Physical contact is inappropriate with older people, people of the opposite sex, or people who are not good friends or family. However, one exception is that people of the same sex will often hold hands.

Be aware that personal relationships generally take precedence over business. The first meeting should be solely for the purpose of getting to know your counterpart and establishing rapport.

Expect tea to be served at the beginning of the meeting, and make a point of accepting this offering of hospitality. Keep a formal demeanor as long as your counterpart does.

While South Koreans are very formal in personal situations, this is not the case when they are standing in line in public places where pushing and shoving are commonplace.

Like anyone else South Koreans laugh when something is funny however, smiling is also used to mask embarrassment and other feelings of distress. Criticism of any kind should be done in private to avoid “loss of face”.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Eye contact is very important to indicate your sincerity and attentiveness to the speaker
  • Talk about South Korea’s economic success and international accomplishments
  • Compliment and ask questions about South Korea’s cultural heritage, landmarks, art, and customs
  • South Koreans are avid sports enthusiasts — especially when it comes to the Olympics!
  • Discuss your personal hobbies – they love kite and kite flying!

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • Don’t discuss South Korean or North Korean politics, Socialism, Communism, and the Korean War
  • Blowing your nose in public is considered vulgar. If heavily spiced food makes your nose run, get up and move away from the table before blowing your nose.
  • Beckoning a person by moving a single finger toward you is considered very rude. Beckon someone by extending your arm palm down and moving your fingers up and down.
  • Cover your mouth when yawning or using a toothpick.
  • Feet are perceived as dirty and should not touch other people or objects. Men should take care that the soles of their shoes are pointing down. Women are permitted to cross their legs as long as the sole of the shoes don’t point at anyone.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for SPAIN!

To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the communication styles of Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book

Create Rapport and Organize Strategies for Success

The CROSS of Cross-Cultural

Check out the ARTICLE ARCHIVES ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for what you may have missed!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

 

Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Gayle Cotton’s speaker website: www.gaylecotton.com

Gayle Cotton’s book website: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

Currently on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

Currently on: Gayle Cotton’s blog

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

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

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Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos: A Touch of Grace

Posted on January 18, 2015 by Comments are off

To touch or not to touch?

How about a touch of grace!

Touch of Grace-Kate -Labron JamesCultural 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.Often I’m asked about cultural ‘faux pas’, especially as they relate to gestures and touching someone in a way that breaks cultural protocol. This unintentional breach of protocol happens frequently, and will continue to happen, however the real etiquette come into play when the breach is handled with such grace and dignity that the breach dissolves unnoticed! Two examples of this come to mind.

Recently when Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, were presented with a Cleveland Cavaliers T-shirt for Prince George by LaBron James, LaBron put his arm around Kate’s shoulder for the photo, unaware that touching the royal family has been known to break the accepted protocol. Neither Prince William nor Kate showed any sign of being uncomfortable with LaBron’s gesture, showing instead dignity and a touch a grace.

Another similar situation happened in March 2012 when President Obama and the First Lady meet Queen Elizabeth in England. In this case, the Queen first extended her arm to touch Michelle Obama’s back, at which point Mrs. Obama responded in like creating an embrace between the two. The British media was abuzz with this show of affection by the Queen who had not publically displayed this sort of affection in 57 years! From the perspective of “rapport”, perhaps the Queen was welcoming Mrs. Obama in the manner more typically comfortable for the U.S. than England. Traditionally, the protocol would be to follow the customs of etiquette for the country you are in, however Queen Elizabeth and the First lady showed that doing things differently can be just fine!

A touch of grace happens when we let go of traditional cultural expectations and connect on the level of the culture we have in common – the ‘Human Culture’. As we begin 2015, perhaps we can focus more on what we have in common rather than on our differences. The following 7 tips will help us do just that!

§  Be respectful: Respect is a universal language!

§  Show you care: Learn what’s important to the cultures you visit or work with

§  Strike a balance: Find the comfortable middle ground between cultures. No one expects you to be just like them!

§  Know your geography: There is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the location of a country and its neighbors!

§  Mind your manners: Learn what is considered polite and impolite for the countries you visit

§  Learn how to greet: Greetings are as diverse as the cultures themselves. There are handshakes, kisses, hugs, and bows, and they come in all different sizes!

§  Show a touch of grace: Differences are the spice of life! When it comes to cultural etiquette, no one expects perfection. Enjoy yourself, and it’s highly likely your counterparts will do the same!

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 conference speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, or professional keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural communication training and cross-cultural training programs. She is a leader in the industry of professional motivational speakers and professional public speakers. Known for her cross-cultural communication books and intercultural training, she is among the best of female keynote speakers, women motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is a cross-cultural speaker and expert on social business etiquette. Gayle travels worldwide, entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her fresh and unique style, and is sure to please any audience with her charm, wit, and humor!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

 

Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Gayle Cotton’s speaker website: www.gaylecotton.com

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

 Gayle Cotton’s book website: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

 Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

Soon on: Gayle Cotton’s blog

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

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

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Gayle Cotton’s Interview ‘Business Travel in Israel’ Is on About.com

Posted on December 13, 2014 by Comments are off

ABOUT.COM: Business Travel Tips for Israel              Israel Flag

The interview on ‘Business Travel Tips for Israel’ is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Israel, tips for communicating in Israel, and strategies for doing business with Israel to help with understanding the culture in Israel. 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!

Interview Links:

Cultural Tips for Israel

http://businesstravel.about.com/od/resources/fl/Cultural-Tips-for-Doing-Business-in-Israel.htm?nl=1

To learn more about the Do’s and Taboos for Israel, doing business in Israel, 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

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this post 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.

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.

 

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

Currently on: Gayle Cotton’s blog

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

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

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Comments are off

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

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

Business travel tips for South Africa that will pave the way!

When doing business in South Africa, keep in mind that the English, the Afrikaners, and the black Africans all have distinct forms of greeting, and while united as South Africans, each tends to mirror their collective personality.

South Africa is the industrial center of Africa, and is a key producer of minerals including diamonds, gold, silver, and copper.

Any hint of ignorance about the South African domestic or regional political scene will almost surely disqualify you from doing business in this country.

With Apartheid gone, South Africa has emerged as one of the most multicultural nations, being composed of British, Afrikaans, Malay, Indian, Zulu, Xhosa, and other black tribes.

South Africa is not a “melting pot”, but rather a society composed of various communities and races that remain separate yet integral forces in seeking a new union aspiring to lead and repair the country.

English speaking South Africans tend to be reserved, proud of their cultural heritage, have good manners, elegant, expressive speech, and avoid unnecessary conflict. Afrikaners, like their Dutch ancestors, are more direct and to the point and have a tendency to “tell it like it is.”

Many South Africans are bilingual, and speak English and Afrikaans (of Dutch origin).

Some South Africans speak English with a heavy accent, as well as in a fast rhythm. It’s important that you pay close attention, because constantly asking people to repeat themselves will eventually be insulting.

Introductions are usually orchestrated in order of seniority. South Africans appreciate a good education, so an advanced degree from a well-known University may be referenced in the introduction.

Typically, South Africans follow the British style of a polite, formal exchange of handshakes and business card exchanges.

Always wait to be asked to sit down. Once seated, expect to be asked a couple of times if you want coffee or tea. It’s a good idea to accept, as this provides a break in the formality and allows for the start of some preliminary “small talk.”

A common interest in sports goes a long way in solidifying the personal side of a business relationship. Casually mentioning that you’d love to see a cricket match or rugby game might just get you an invitation to one!

By nature, South Africans are a warm, friendly, outgoing people, and conversations can get personal after a relatively brief period of time. They will take a genuine interest in the way of life in your home country and what you think of South Africa.

If there is a long period of silence in the course of a conversation, it is a sign that the situation has become awkward or there is something else that is wrong.

South Africans tend to use demonstrative body language when talking. You’ll likely experience a lot of handshaking and some backslapping. With friends and close associates, hand-holding is a sign of friendship.

In contrast, business discussions are conducted in a cordial manner and in quiet voices. A raised voice will be interpreted as an insult. Also, increasing your volume runs the risk of getting you branded as a pushy foreigner more concerned about the “bottom line” than the personal side of a business relationship.

South African businesspeople aren’t easily impressed with slide presentations. The first meeting is about establishing personal rapport and deciding if you’re a person they can trust. It would be a mistake to expect any instant decisions or deals until the relationship is well established.

Keep your presentation short, to the point, and filled with specific ideas related to the special circumstances of doing business in South Africa. Sometimes, the logistics and financing of the deal are more important to South Africans than the actual product or service that you are trying to sell.

Generally, South Africans don’t like to admit that they don’t know an answer. A lot of this tendency has to do with the tradition of hospitality and the desire not to disappoint. Don’t push for an immediate answer, and the correct information will likely be provided to you in the very near future.

The pace of business is somewhat slower and more relaxed when it comes to negotiations and the decision-making process. Being overly aggressive about deadlines will be counterproductive. Avoid the “hare-sell” since that may be perceived as pushy.

In negotiations and decision-making, South Africans strive to build consensus, and prefer to see all sides gain something. For the most part, they are ruled by a sense of fair play, and it’s rare for them to “haggle” over prices or obsess over details.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Tips

  • Maintaining good eye contact is essential
  • Talking about sports is an effective way to personalize business. Make the effort to learn about the country’s accomplishments in golf, rugby, and cricket
  • A small yet thoughtful gift for your business associates or their families will be greatly appreciated. Personalized gifts are the best
  • Talking about your home country, as well as your interest in South Africa — it’s diverse and beautiful terrain, rich culture, and wild life
  • The evolving racial and social policies are open to discussion, but make sure you are well versed on the topic, and don’t impose your views

5 Key Conversation Topics or Gesture Taboos

  • It’s impolite to point with your index finger so use an open hand
  • Talking with your hands in your pockets is considered rude
  • When passing through a doorway, it’s customary for African men to precede women
  • Don’t initiate or participate in racist or sexist conversations should the topic arise
  • The “V” or peace sign is the same as giving “someone the finger”, and it’s usually punctuated by an upward thrust of the hand

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for SOUTH KOREA!

To learn more about the Do’s & Taboos for South Africa, doing business in South Africa, 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 ARCHIVES ‘Cultural Clues Do’s and Taboos’ for countries you may have missed!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our customized programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building, and Time Management.

 

Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

MEDIA: Newsroom Media Interviews

Gayle Cotton’s speaker website: www.gaylecotton.com

Video clips: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Gayle Cotton’s book website: SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

Soon on the: Circles Of Excellence blog

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

Soon on: Gayle Cotton’s blog

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

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

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