The world has become smaller as travels have been made easier. People of different backgrounds get together, communicate, interact; socially or professionally much more rampantly than it had ever before. As people of the world get more in touch with each other, there might be some cross-cultural glitches in their day-to-day dealings.
From experience, here are the few things that we need to keep in mind; to keep up with cross-cultural graces.
Greetings. What is acceptable in one culture might not be to another. In quite a recent spate, the unseen happened when an individual of certain religious belief refused to shake the hand of an interviewer of the opposite gender – and it caused lots of inconveniences. Many countries have their own sets of greetings; it will be really helpful if you know and are aware of those before the big meet-up.
Addressing. While in some countries, people might address their bosses by first names, this will be considered rude in many other cultures. When you first meet someone, pay attention as to how they are being introduced to you and then use that similar form of address. Bear in mind, across many cultures, people with academic degrees such as Professor and Doctor would usually prefer to be addressed a such.
Attire. Wearing an appropriate piece of clothing is really important to set the tone for your meeting. For the ladies, it is always necessary to know what is acceptable or not in the country you are visiting. Gentlemen, do not just assume; in certain places like Japan, a professional ensemble is always expected while in Norway, they are more relaxed. Find out all these before embarking on the meet-up.
Time. It’s important to understand while in certain places being ‘fashionably late’ is acceptable, in other places, however, it might be something that is frowned upon. That said, it’s always never a bad thing to be on time; if anything, it is commendable – so, why not just do that.
Space. Always maintain a good space between yourself and the other person. Although not carved in stone, I personally feel spaces of between 1.5 to 2 arm-lengths is most appropriate for business dealings and co-workers.
Conversation. If we are completely honest; even the best conversationalist might, from time to time find it a challenge talking to a person of a different cultural background. This is because subjects or words that might be considered okay in one place might be a taboo to another. So it is always a good idea to read up on the place you are visiting beforehand; get an idea of what is accepted and what is not.