Sometimes conventional etiquettes have to be overlooked depending on which part of the world you are in. Some countries have their own cultural etiquettes that all business travelers must be aware of if embarrassment has to be avoided. Here is a country wise guide of what all travelers:
- China: remember we were always told to clean our plate. BUT in china cleaning your plate, when you are attending a dinner, is taken as a sign that your host has not been feeding you well. In other words, you weren’t given enough food. Also, talking about business and related activities at the dinner table is taken as a sign of rudeness by the host. So avoid these. Instead, try to ask question that show that you are keen to learn about Chinese culture and traditions, etc. Also keep in mind never to gift any Chinese colleague of you’re the gift of a “clock” as it signals “death”
Germany: unlike in USA, in Germany the Birthday boy/girl initiate the celebrations. So if you are new to the culture remember that you have to take a cake and some small snacks to your workplace to initiate the celebrations. Otherwise it is considered rude to not initiate the celebration by stay silent about your birthday.
- Japan: Never gift anyone with knives in Japan as it signals cutting ties with the recipient.
- New Zealand: common way of greeting is by rubbing or touching the nose.
- Middle Eastern Countries: Never shake your hand with a native with your left hand as the left hand is considered unclean
Therefore before you head off to wow any client abroad make sure you do your homework well. For detailed instructions buy a book on cultural etiquettes or search for some tips online.
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