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Do you have responsibility for a multicultural team? Do you work with colleagues or customers from other cultures? Are you relocating to live or work in a different culture? Are you relocating international staff into the UK?

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Culture

What Is Culture  - The customs, beliefs, art and all other products of human thought made by a particular group of people at a particular time.

What is Culture Shock -  Disorientation felt by a person subjected to unfamiliar way of life.Unless you know the rules of other cultures you could make serious errors of judgement resulting in insulting your host or even starting an International crisis! Here are a few general cultural differences to be considered:

Greetings

In some Countries men and women are forbidden to touch hands…..In others public displays of affection are normal.

Communication Style

The Japanese or English may distrust Italians because they wave their hands about or Spaniards because they sound emotional. The French may appear offensive as they are direct and frequently use cynicism. Germans may take the English too seriously and completely miss the humour or irony. No-one may know what the Japanese are thinking as they may say little or nothing at all.

Personal space

In some countries it may seem that there is no such thing as personal space. When queuing in some countries; that is to say in countries where they actually have a queue system, standing so close to the person in front that they can feel your breath on their neck is not considered an issue, whereas in other countries this would seem offensive.

Eye contact

In Asia direct eye contact can be interpreted as rude and disrespectful, whereas in the United Kingdom it is an important way to show sincerity and trust.

Views of time

In the United Kingdom and the United States it is advisable to always be punctual. In many Latin countries punctuality is not as important as arriving at all, whatever the time.

Gestures

The okay sign has different meanings when used, depending upon your location.


North America     to show approval

Japanese     to signal money (never shake fist)

Brazil     it is a vulgar sign

France     means zero

Middle East     rude sexual gesture

Taboos

In some parts of the Middle East and Far East showing the sole of your shoe sends a rude message whilst in Thailand for example it is considered rude to sit cross-legged.

Do you have Cultural Intelligence? Are you fully prepared to live and work successfully in a new country? Need some help? Need to know more?


For more information contact us by calling +44 (0)1235 855 236 or click here to email us.