Posts tagged with conversation guidelines for Italy

Great Article! Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for ITALY

Posted on September 24, 2020 by Leave a comment

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Italy

A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z  

Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Italy

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

Cultural Tips for Italy – including some valuable business travel tips for Italy

There is tremendous respect for power, authority, and age in the Italian culture.

You will usually be introduced to older people and women first. When introducing yourself, it’s best to follow this protocol.

In the business culture, punctuality is not as much of a priority as in some places. However, it’s best to arrive on time and be prepared to wait.

In many cities there is a long lunch break from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Business may be discussed during lunch.

Be aware of summer vacations in August, as most companies are closed.

Frequent, warm and enthusiastic handshakes are common for both business and social occasions. Italians will also greet people they know well with an embrace.

It’s not unusual to see Italians touching an arm or hand in their enthusiastic conversation style.

Italians can be very demonstrative and like to gesture with their arms and hands while talking.

Italians have an enthusiastic communication style using variations of tonality and gestures!

Conversation interruptions are common, and there are rare moments of silence in groups.

Italians have many physical gestures that have very specific meanings. Because of this, avoid hand gestures where fingers are pointed, or singled out in a descriptive way so you don’t offend anyone.

In the Italian culture, people are traditionally expected to behave with a sense of decorum and formality. This concept is known as ‘bella figura’ (beautiful figure).

Although women form a relatively high percentage of the total workforce, the number of women in senior management positions is less than in some countries. However, progress is constantly being made in this area.

Women tend to be in higher positions in family owned companies where stature within the family is the key criteria.

Senior female managers in Italy and from abroad will always be treated with equal respect and courtesy.

In business, avoid chewing gum, leaning on things, or slouching. Good posture and direct eye contact is important

It’s advisable to wait to be seated at meetings, meals, or gatherings. Take these opportunities to cultivate feelings of respect and trust with your Italian counterparts.

Any presentation materials should be aesthetically pleasing. It’s essential that things look good as appearance is very important.

Hierarchy in business and “cordata” (chain of command) cannot be underestimated. A belief in status and hierarchy permeates all aspects of Italian society.

Decision making is rather slow and protracted, so be patient since rushing the process will only be an affront to the Italian business protocol.

Honor and personal pride are critical. Never insult an Italian, their family, their town, their friends, or their church (which is predominantly Roman Catholic).

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips

Italian architecture and landscape

Anything related to Italian art, opera and films

Sports, especially soccer

The warm Italian hospitality

Current events, as long as they are not derogatory to Italy

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos

Religion, the Vatican and its policies

Politics, taxes, the Mafia and World War II

Criticizing the Italian culture, even if your Italian counterparts are doing so

Overly personal questions about job and family when you have just met

Negative comments about the local soccer team!

Bon Voyage!

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

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

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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 customizedtraining programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural Diversity, Customer Service, Leadership Coaching, Presentation Skills, Sales Negotiations, Stress Management, Team building, and Time Management Training.

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Gayle Cotton’s Bestselling Book is a ‘Featured Sales Guide’ on Amazon!

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Leave a comment

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

Currently on Gayle Cotton’s blog

Her article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for IRELAND

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

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

Posted on November 11, 2013 by Leave a comment

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


Addresses in Russia are written in the following order: (1) country (2) city (3) street address and (4) the last name of the individual.

Handshaking is common and is typically a firm grip with several quick pumps between two men. Between men and women, or two women, the handshake is usually softer. It’s appropriate for men to wait until a woman extends her hand before reaching for it. Between women, the older woman extends her hand first.

Relatives and good friends may engage in an animated embrace and kiss each other on the cheeks when greeting.

When a Russian touches another person during a greeting or conversation, it is usually a sign of confidence and rapport.

Generally speaking, Russians are more comfortable with third-party introductions, so it’s best to wait a moment before introducing yourself to a new group. If, after a few minutes, no introduction is made you may then take the initiative.

Eye contact during the introduction is very important and should be maintained as long as the individual is addressing you.

Visitors should speak in a calm moderate tone of voice since speaking or laughing loudly in public is frowned upon.

Personal questions are best avoided, although you may be subject to these inquiries. Answer these questions as best as you are willing to since your Russian companions may press you for details.

There is tremendous affection for children in Russia. If you are a parent, showing photographs of your children can be an effective way of building rapport.

In conversation, it is helpful to discuss your aspirations and hopes for the future. Sometimes, Russians are far more interested in the personal side of your character than your business agenda.

Allow plenty of time for each appointment. Not only may appointments start late, they may last longer than originally planned.

The Russian business culture has a deeply entrenched hierarchy. Superiors have authority over their subordinates, and are ultimately responsible for the final

It’s essential that you deal with the key decision-makers, rather than the go-betweens who are often sent to meet with new visitors. It’s wise to plan ahead and make the right contacts well in advance of your trip.

When decision-makers are present, meetings can be a time for all participants to exchange information and ideas.

Ensure that you have a contact outside of the negotiations who is an expert in Russian law, which is constantly subject to change in both interpretation and application.

The first meeting is usually more of a formality, a time for the Russians to assess the credibility of you and your company. The best strategy is to appear very firm and dignified, while maintaining an air of warmth and approachability.

It’s essential that your business team display a “united front” when negotiating with the Russians. A good way to start is by ensuring that all members of your team understand and agree on precisely what they want to achieve from the deal.

While strong empirical evidence and other factual data are important in any presentation, making a trustworthy impression is an important priority with Russians.

Extend compliments with caution, since they may cause Russians to feel a sense of misplaced obligation. Praising and rewarding anyone in public may be viewed with suspicion.

Your Russian counterparts may insist that they understand something while this may not actually be the case. They also sometimes have a tendency to say things they think you want to hear.

The Russian word “nyekulturny” is a popular term used to refer to anything considered uncultured, bad mannered, or otherwise socially unacceptable. The taboos below are a few examples of some behaviors regarded as “nyekulturny.”

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Tips

  • The rapid, progressive changes taking place in Russia
  • Culture, theatre, movies, music, and literature
  • Travel, history, and architecture
  • There is always an interest in current events as long as you remain open to various perspectives
  • The food and drink that is unmistakably a part of Russian entertainment

5 Key Conversation or Gesture Taboos

  • Wearing your coat inside office buildings or public places. Coatrooms are usually available and should be used.
  • Standing with your hands in your pockets
  • Sitting with the legs apart, or with one ankle resting upon the knee
  • Comparing Russia to other developing countries, or comparing Moscow and Saint Petersburg
  • Beckoning someone with the forefinger. Instead, turn your hand so that the palm faces down and make a scratching motion. Many common gestures used in the West, such as the “OK” sign, are considered rude in Russia.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for SAUDI ARABIA!




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

Currently on the Circles Of Excellence blog

Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos RUSSIA

Currently on Gayle Cotton’s blog

Gayle’s article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos on ITALY

Check out our Article Archives Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for countries you may have missed!

Contact Circles Of Excellence for your company’s Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers. We work with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies. Our topics include Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communications, Customer Service, Diversity, Leadership & Management, Presentation Skills, Sales & Negotiations, Stress Management, Team Building and Time Management. Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s global business environment. Gayle is the author of the bestselling book SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’ and President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. Her vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire audiences of any size with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications and social business etiquette! Gayle travels worldwide from business bases in Texas and Switzerland as a distinguished professional keynote speaker.

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