Monday, January 16, 2012

Foreign Etiquette Tips

The following advice by Sue Fox, author of Business Etiquette for Dummies, may help business travelers avoid an embarrassing gaffe abroad.
Argentina It is rude to ask people what they do for a living. Wait until they offer the information.
Bahrain Never show signs of impatience, because it is considered an insult. If tea is offered, always accept.
Cambodia Never touch or pass something over the head of a Cambodian, because the head is considered sacred.
China As in most Asian cultures, avoid waving or pointing chopsticks, putting them vertically in a rice bowl or tapping them on the bowl. These actions are considered extremely rude.
Dominican Republic When speaking to someone, failure to maintain good eye contact may be interpreted as losing interest in the conversation.
France Always remain calm, polite and courteous during business meetings. Never appear overly friendly, because this could be construed as suspicious. Never ask personal questions.
Greece If you need to signal a taxi, holding up five fingers is considered an offensive gesture if the palm faces outward. Face your palm inward with closed fingers.
Egypt Showing the sole of your foot or crossing your legs when sitting is an insult. Never use the thumbs-up sign, because it is considered an obscene gesture.
India Avoid giving gifts made from leather, because many Hindus are vegetarian and consider cows sacred. Keep this in mind when taking Indian clients to restaurants. Don't wink, because it is seen as a sexual gesture.
Japan Never write on a business card or shove the card into your back pocket when you are with the giver. This is considered disrespectful. Hold the card with both hands and read it carefully. It's considered polite to make frequent apologies in general conversation.
Malaysia If you receive an invitation from a business associate from Malaysia, always respond in writing. Avoid using your left hand because it is considered unclean.
Mexico If visiting a business associate's home, do not bring up business unless the associate does.
Philippines Never refer to a female hosting an event as the "hostess," which translates to prostitute.
Singapore If you plan to give a gift, always give it to the company. A gift to one person is considered a bribe.
Spain Always request your check when dining out in Spain. It is considered rude for wait staff to bring your bill beforehand.
Vietnam Shake hands only with someone of the same sex who initiates it. Physical contact between men and women in public is frowned upon.

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