Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboo’s Archives

Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for ARGENTINA

Posted on July 5, 2018 by Comments are off

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

Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Argentina

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.

This article on cultural differences in Argentina and cultural travel tips for Argentina is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Argentina, tips for communicating in Argentina and business strategies for Argentina to help with understanding the culture in Argentina. 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 Argentina and tips for intercultural communication!

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

Expect Argentines to speak Castilian Spanish with an Italian accent rather than the Mexican dialect of Spanish.

Relationship building, rapport and trust are very important in Argentinian business.

It may be a good strategy to make an appointment in Argentina with an “enchufado”, an individual who has high-level contacts in your field. This person can make the necessary introductions on your behalf.

If you want to deal with this country’s government, it is often helpful to have an Argentine contact act as an intermediary before you attempt to make an appointment.

Argentines generally converse in closer proximity than North Americans, so do your best to adapt to this practice because it may be taken personally if you back away from someone.

For business related occasions punctuality is appreciated and expected from visitors, however it’s not uncommon for your Argentine counterparts to be approximately 30 or so minutes late.

Argentines like to engage in “small talk.” Generally, they are very sociable and take a genuine interest in Argentine cultural affairs.

Try not to take offense if people make jokes at your expense, even if remarks are directed at your weight or other aspects of your appearance. This kind of comment is a sign that your Argentine companions are comfortable around you.

Businesswomen are well respected and accepted in Argentinian business.

A firm, inviting handshake is an important part of making a first impression. In accordance with Argentine business protocol, women should initiate the handshakes with men.

It’s not uncommon for women to be asked personal questions about their marital status and family. Give a discreet reply, and if you really don’t want to answer remain polite and gracefully side step the question.

Initially, avoid personal questions and inquiries about family until you have become better acquainted with someone.

Many Argentines like getting into discussions about politics and religion, however as a visitor it will be in your best interests not to get involved unless you know someone very well.

Sincere compliments about anything Argentinian are always welcome.

Professional status and ranking will be important to your Argentine counterparts, so make sure you have equal status as those you will be meeting.

As friendships develop, enthusiastic kissing, hugging and back patting often follow handshakes. Follow the lead of your Argentine counterparts, as they may take offense if you try to recoil from these gestures.

Avoid discussing the war in the Falkland Islands, since this is an episode that the Argentines would prefer to leave behind. If the subject does come up, the islands should be referred to by their Argentine name, the Malvinas Islands.

Hierarchy is important in Argentine business culture. Senior executives and others of status always are given great respect.

In negotiations, the top executives will play key roles in the final decision.

Typically, negotiations will take longer than in the U.S. and other non-Latin American cultures so be patient.

If all the feedback you receive seems unusually positive, keep in mind that it can be very difficult for Argentines to openly disagree with someone they like.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

·         Any topic having to do with Argentine art, theater, movies and opera

·         Sports, such as futbol (soccer), U.S. style football is called “futbol americano”

·         Your international travels and the area of Argentina you’re visiting

·         Restaurants, food, and the great wine in Argentina

·         The beauty of the Argentine architecture, parks and gardens

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Criticizing or joking about Argentine culture and traditions
  • Avoid praising Argentina’s neighbors, particularly Chile. Argentina has fought wars with all their neighboring countries
  • Negative comments about Argentina’s government, cities, or Argentina’s sports teams
  • It’s best to avoid discussion about religion in Argentina until you know someone well
  • Political opinions are strong in Argentina, so it’s best to stay out of the discussion unless you know those involved very well

Bon Voyage!

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

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 Yemen

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Yemen – 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.

This article on cultural differences in Yemen and cultural travel tips for Yemen is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Yemen, tips for communicating in Yemen and business strategies for Yemen to help with understanding the culture in Yemen. 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 Yemen and tips for intercultural communication!

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

The only absolute requirement of dress code in Yemen is modesty. Short sleeves are therefore acceptable but not short trousers.

The female dress code requires covering everything in public, however, a woman can wear literally anything she wants providing she covers herself thoroughly when she goes out.

The host typically sets the subject of conversation, and normally begin with general small talk such as “How are you?”, “Are you enjoying your visit?” etc.

Intelligent argument is admired and welcome, but only when it is courteous and reasoned. The more feedback you generate, no matter how forceful so long as it’s not angry, the more highly you will be esteemed.

Getting down to business can often be quicker than elsewhere in the Middle East, except for in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, where business is very westernized.

As is in other Arab countries, be prepared to tolerate multiple interruptions during conversations.

The standard greeting is “As-salam alaikum,” (“peace be upon you”) to which the standard reply is “Wa alaikum as-salam,” (“and upon you be peace”).

The use of first names denotes more familiarity than in the west and there is no real equivalent to Mr. or Ms. The noble title “Sayyed” refers to a Hashemite (an Arab claiming descent from Hashim, the great-grandfather of Muhammad), and should always be used before the first name.

A level of friendliness, without undue familiarity, is achieved by using the “kunya”. A man becomes known to his friends as “Abu” (father of), usually followed by the name of his eldest son. It is quite acceptable to ask a mutual acquaintance if you don’t know a man’s kunya. Somewhat less common is the female equivalent “Umm” (mother of).

The titles Doctor, Mohandas (engineer), Ustadh (professor), and Shaikh (chief) are used as honorable titles. “Shaikh” is similar in concept to knighthood in British English, and is used before the first name not the surname.\

On arrival at a reception room, the visitor should stand in the doorway and utter the former of these phrases. After receiving the reply, the visitor is entitled to enter the reception room for further greetings and introductions.

If the room is carpeted, remove your shoes and leave them outside to avoid bringing in impurities that would leave the carpet ritually unclean for prayer.

Once inside the room, shake hands with the most senior person first, usually but not always the host. Proceed to make your way around the room in a counter-clockwise direction, shaking hands with each person before taking your seat or joining in the conversation.

If there is a very large number of people in the room, or if the seating is inconvenient, there may be consensus permission to merely shake hands with the host and wave a greeting to the others.

It is best not to change the subject of a conversation except by logical opportunity or invitation, even though the Yemenis will feel free to do this themselves.

English is widely spoken enough not to require a knowledge of Arabic for general day-to-day purposes.

Business cards are common but not essential in Yemen. If used, the common practice is to have English and Arabic printed on either side. Brochures and other promotional literature should be printed in Arabic, either with or without English translation.

If seated, crossing your legs is acceptable, provided you don’t direct the sole of your foot to an individual, which is the “go away” gesture.

In business meetings, conversation should be communal. Don’t have a long private chat with an individual because more than one conversation in the room is thought to spoil the atmosphere.

Yemenis are very shrewd in business, so the details of any agreement should be detailed meticulously. The concept of commitment may differ from yours, and such terms as “immediate”, “prompt”, “on demand” or “soon” are particularly susceptible to disputed interpretation.

Hospitality is important throughout the Middle East, but in Yemen it is a requirement and must be accepted when offered. Being invited to lunch anywhere in Yemen is the promise of a feast. The food is both varied and distinctive, however, be aware that the southern cuisine is substantially spicier than the northern.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • Maintaining eye contact is an important way of showing attentiveness in Yemen.
  • Everything offered to anyone should be offered with and taken by only the right hand.
  • Be open to standing closer, more body language, and touching between the same sex.
  • Be prepared for many interruptions by the Yemenis during conversations,
  • Restaurants and the varied, distinctive food are always appreciated topics of discussion.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Nothing should be offered with the left hand which is considered unclean.
  • When seated, don’t point the sole of your foot to anyone, because this is a “go away” gesture.
  • In general, let your host guide the conversation and don’t change the topic unless invited to do so.
  • Don’t ask personal questions or discuss a person’s private life unless they bring it up first.
  • Don’t back away from Yemenis when they stand close to you or touch your arm or clothing during discussions.

Bon Voyage! Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for Argentina!

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.

Gayle’s Website: www.gaylecotton.com

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

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

Gayle’s Newsroom: Media Interviews

Gayle’s DVD: Speaker preview for Gayle Cotton

Circles Of Excellence Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com

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

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

Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Venezuela

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Venezuela – 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 differences in Venezuela and cultural travel tips for Venezuela is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Venezuela, tips for communicating in Venezuela and business strategies for Venezuela to help with understanding the culture in Venezuela. 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 Venezuela and tips for intercultural communication!

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

In Venezuela, punctuality is expected. Traffic congestion, especially in Caracas, can be difficult, so make sure you have plenty of time to get to your appointment.

A firm, assured, handshake is the customary greeting on all occasions. During the handshake, state your full name and the Venezuelan will reciprocate by doing the same.

Once you establish a closer acquaintance, you may receive an “abrazo”, an embrace which involves a squeeze of the arm, and sometimes even a kiss on the cheek.

Venezuelans tend to stand close to others. Respect this practice and accept that it is the cultural norm. Attempting to move away may be perceived as a rejection.

Business cards are important in establishing working relationships in this culture, so bring a plentiful supply and have them ready when first meeting others. Business cards should be treated with care and respect.

It’s best if documents, letters, promotional literature, and presentation materials are translated into Spanish. However, if you receive a reply from a Venezuelan in English you may begin using English in all correspondence.

In the Venezuelan business culture, preliminary conversation or “small talk” is considered necessary before each meeting, since it allows the participants to become personally acquainted. Follow their lead in establishing rapport.

An important part of developing a business relationship with your Venezuelan contact involves dining at a restaurant. Business dinners are usually social occasions, so refrain from discussing work-related matters unless your Venezuelan contact brings up the subject.

If you are hosting a meal at a restaurant, it’s a good idea to pay the bill in advance. This guideline is especially important if you are a woman, since your male guests may resist allowing you to pick up the tab.

If you are invited to a Venezuelan’s home, consider it an honor, and it’s best to bring a gift. Orchids, the national flower, is a popular and an easily available floral gift.

Businesspeople from older generations often place a greater emphasis on getting to know you personally. Conversely, the younger generations are chiefly preoccupied with business concerns.

In Venezuelan business culture, interpersonal skills and maintaining cordial relations with the group, are often considered more important than professional competence and experience.

Avoid monopolizing a conversation, it’s best to allow your Venezuelan companions to initially take the lead.

During a conversation, it’s not uncommon for Venezuelans to sometimes touch each other’s arms or jacket.

In both the government and private sectors, Venezuelan women hold positions of rank and authority, so you’ll find that Venezuelan men will be accustomed to dealing with businesswomen.

A business deal made in Venezuela should focus mainly on long-term goals, rather than immediate gains.

The Venezuelan educational system emphasizes processing information subjectively and associatively. In problem solving, becoming personally involved is often considered more important than seeking guidance from a specific set or laws or rules.

In the Venezuelan business culture, an individual takes full responsibility for his or her decisions and how they affect the group or family structure.

The pace of negotiations is generally slower in Venezuela than in the United States.

During negotiations, wait until final agreements are reached before discussing getting attorneys involved.

Business gifts are appreciated if you have been invited to dinner or when someone has done something thoughtful for you. It’s best to give them after business hours. Some good gifts include fine chocolates, a desk accessory with your company name and logo, or a small electronic device.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • Maintaining eye contact is an important way of signaling attentiveness in this culture.
  • Point with your entire hand, rather than just your index finger which is considered impolite.
  • Good topics to discuss are the positive aspects of Venezuela, particularly what you like most about the country.
  • Sports, especially baseball and soccer.
  • Restaurants and food are always good topics of discussion.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Venezuelans look down upon eating and walking at the same time.
  • Avoid discussing Venezuelan politic or religion.
  • In general, it’s best not to bring up the influence the United States has on South America.
  • Don’t ask personal questions or discuss a person’s private life unless they bring it up first.
  • Don’t back away from Venezuelans when they stand close to you or pull away if they touch your arm or clothing during discussions.

Bon Voyage!

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

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

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

Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for the United States of America (USA)

Posted on July 25, 2017 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for the United States of America (USA) – 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 the USA is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for the USA, tips for communicating in the USA and business strategies for the USA to help with understanding the culture in the USA. 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 the USA and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for the USA – including some valuable business travel tips for the USA!

In the USA, you will find that most Americans speak only English, unless they are immigrants from other countries. They write the month first, then the day, then the year (i.e., December 5, 2001 is written 12/5/01).

Punctuality is considered very important, especially for business occasions. In many U.S. cities, traffic can cause considerable delays, so be sure to allow enough driving time to your appointment. If you know that you will be late, call to let your contact know.

A handshake is the customary greeting for both men and women socially or for business. Apart from greeting close family members or friends, Americans tend to refrain from greetings that involve hugging and close physical contact.

Business cards will not be refused, but you may not always receive one in return. Don’t be offended, in the U.S., the rituals involved in exchanging business cards are sometimes not observed as closely as in other cultures.

The recipient of your card will probably place it into a wallet, which a man may put in the back pocket of his pants. This gesture is done for convenience, and is not meant to be a sign of disrespect, as it might be in other cultures.

The standard space between you and your conversation partner should be about two feet. Most U.S. executives will be uncomfortable standing at a closer distance. Direct eye contact conveys that you are sincere, although it should not be too intense. Certain ethnic groups will look away to show respect.

Americans will often ask, “How are you?” as part of the standard greeting “Hello”, or “Hi”. It is not a question that requires a lengthy answer, a simple “Fine and you?” is sufficient.

Americans like to laugh and enjoy being with people who have a sense of humor. Jokes are usually welcome, however avoid race, gender, ethnic and religious humor. They also tend to dislike long periods of silence, so they may jump in to fill in the silence in a conversation with humor or a general statement.

Traditional sex roles are changing rapidly, but women are still striving for equality in pay and positions of authority.

Sports are very popular in the U.S., especially baseball, football (not to be confused with soccer), and basketball. Sport analogies have found their way into business, so you will often hear things like “that was a home run” or “that’s out in left field”, which can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the terms!

Most business is conducted on a “first name” basis, however there are exceptions so follow the lead of others. When sitting, Americans can look very relaxed. Men may sit with the ankle of one leg on their knee or prop their feet up on chairs or desks. However, in formal business situations it’s best to maintain a good posture and be less casual.

In the U.S., business is often conducted at a very fast pace. In a meeting, the participants will proceed with business after some brief, preliminary “small talk.” The concept “time is money” is taken seriously in U.S. business culture, so always get to the point. It’s not uncommon for them to try to get an oral agreement at the first meeting.

Many Americans believe that their country is the most successful economic and democratic power, and assume that American ways are the “correct” ones. This attitude sometimes leads to a lack of interest in or knowledge of other cultures.

They typically know little of concepts such as “saving face” and the social niceties and formalities that are vitally important to other cultures. Innovation usually takes precedence over tradition.

The United States is an ethnocentric culture, and so it is sometimes closed to “outside” information. Thinking tends to be analytical, and concepts are abstracted quickly.

Americans tend to be future oriented. Money is a key priority, and an issue that will be used to win most arguments. They don’t always realize that businesspeople from many other cultures rarely, if ever, sacrifice status, protocol, or national honor for financial gain.

In negotiations, Americans will often emphasize their financial strength or indomitable position. Generally, they will use a majority vote if they have it, and will not spend much time seeking consensus.

They regard negotiating as problem-solving through “give and take” based on respective strengths. They often are unaware that the other side may have only one position.

American businesspeople are opportunistic and willing to take chances. Opportunism and risk taking often result in Americans going for the biggest possible slice of the business. Even so, they will have a financial plan which must be followed.

Businesspeople can be very blunt and will not hesitate to disagree with you. This approach may cause embarrassment to business travelers who are unaccustomed to dealing with Americans. In general, people from the U.S. will not hesitate to answer “no.”

Persistence is a characteristic you will frequently encounter in American business. There is a prevailing belief that there is always a solution, so they will explore all options when negotiations are at an impasse.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • General questions such as “How are you” or “What do you do?” are often used.
  • Topics around someone’s job or work-related matters are good for general discussion. Travel, music, food, movies, and books are topics appreciated by everyone.
  • All types of sports, and especially golf for business venues and negotiations, are welcome topics of conversation.
  • To show approval, there are two common gestures: the “O.K.” sign, formed by making a circle of the thumb and index finger, and the “thumbs up” sign, formed by making a fist and pointing the thumb upward. The backslap should be interpreted as a sign of friendship and camaraderie.
  • To beckon someone, wave either all the fingers or just the index finger in a scooping motion, with the palm facing up. To wave goodbye, move your entire hand, with the palm facing outward.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Until you know a person well, avoid discussing religion, politics or other controversial subjects (abortion, racism, sexism etc.). Also avoid all race, gender, ethnic or religious jokes.
  • For the most part, Americans aren’t prone to touching, hugging, or kissing when greeting, or during business conversations and social situations.
  • While it’s common to point with the index finger, it’s impolite to point at another person.
  • Refrain from asking women if they are married. If a woman volunteers this information, you may ask a few polite questions about her husband or children.
  • Smoking is not as commonplace and is subject to restrictions in most public places. Even where smoking is allowed, always ask if those you are with will mind if you smoke.

Bon Voyage!

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

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

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

Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Comments are off

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – 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 the UAE is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for the UAE, tips for communicating in the UAE and business strategies for the UAE to help with understanding the culture in the UAE. 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 the UAE and tips for intercultural communication!

Cultural Tips for the UAE – including some valuable business travel tips for the UAE!

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is very progressive, modern, and the most westernized of all the Arabic countries.

In the UAE, each of the seven United Arab Emirates is a sovereign principality ruled by the head of the leading family of the tribe that first settled there.

Tourist visas are available and a single visa is valid for all seven emirates. The national airline, Emirates, is renowned for excellent service.

Islam is the official religion. Because of the relatively small indigenous population [especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi], however, the western visitor does not feel its influence as much as elsewhere in Arabia, except during the fast of Ramadhan.

The official language is Arabic but Farsi heavily influences the local dialect, making it sound strange at first. English, Farsi, Urdu and Hindi are also widely spoken.

The UAE encourages foreign enterprise, and many businesses are foreign owned and run. You just need to satisfy the financial criteria to open a business there.

Business etiquette varies according to nationality, but following the general guidelines when dealing with people from anywhere in Arabia is helpful.

Appropriate business dress for men is shirt and trousers during the day with collar and tie in the evening. Traditional robes are also popular and suitable for the climate.

Business women are more common than in other Arabic countries, and need not dress as modestly as elsewhere in Arabia. Typical western business attire is appropriate as long as it’s not too revealing.

Business cards are commonly exchanged but not essential. English language cards are fine, but it’s a nice gesture to have Arabic printed on one side.

Detailed brochures and material should be printed in Arabic, either with or without an English translation.

Gifts are challenging, because virtually everything can be purchased there less expensively than elsewhere in the world. Gifts must also be the very best affordable. It’s wise to research gifts in advance to make sure they’re appropriate and will be appreciated.

As in the west, the basic working week is 5 days, save that the week begins on Saturday instead of Monday.

Generally, businesses in the UAE open at about nine in the morning, close for most of the afternoon and then re-open from late afternoon until mid-evening.

Although prayer times vary around the year, current ones are always printed in the daily newspapers and the visitor should keep abreast of them when making appointments.

If a meeting room is carpeted, it’s common to remove shoes and leave them outside to avoid bringing in impurities and making the room unclean for prayer.

At the start of a meeting, shake hands with the most senior person first, usually, but not always, the host. Then make your way around the room in an anti-clockwise direction, shaking hands with each person in turn before taking your seat.

If there are more than fifty or so people in the room, there may be a consensus to shake hands with the host and wave a greeting to the others.

Once seated, crossing legs is perfectly acceptable, provided you do not direct the sole of the foot to an individual, which is a ‘go away’ gesture.

Business initially proceeds more slowly than in the west, and then often unexpectedly speed up as business dealings solidify.

There may be several meetings required in the discussion phase, and then negotiations may be swift but not necessarily easy.

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Tips

  • General questions such as “How are you” are often used.
  • The UAE is an oasis of variety and modernism and this is always a good topic of discussion.
  • Intelligent argument is admired and welcome, but only if it is courteous and reasoned.
  • Do not change the topic of conversation except by logical opportunity or invitation.
  • The more feedback you provide, even if it’s forceful so long as it is not angry, the more highly you are esteemed

5 Key Conversation Topics or Cultural Gesture Taboos

  • Quarreling with anger is regarded totally differently than intelligent argument and should be avoided.
  • 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.
  • If you continually agree with someone, and are afraid to offer a differing opinion, they may begin to doubt your sincerity.
  • The UAE is very cosmopolitan, so to avoid offending be sure your manners and cultural etiquette adapt to the nationality of who you are with.
  • Since the UAE 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 the United States of America (USA)!

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

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

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

  • Asking 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 pointers 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

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

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

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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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