Cross-Culture Etiquette

All cultures are different, and these differences are evident in many aspects of society. From customs to attires, cultural differences are part of everyday life. For business, these differences are to always be taken account for, as they can limit the expansion of any industry as much as they can open its frontiers. For business people, it is important to always acknowledge cultural differences, in order to leave the correct impression. Etiquette is also a part of a country’s culture, and it can vary greatly. This article will focus on some of the main differences of cross-cultural etiquette and how to account for them, in order to give the best image of yourself possible.

Dressing correctly:

One of the most evident differences among cultures is clothing. The proper attire can help in leaving the best first impression, and you should always make sure to be dressed as sharp as possible for any occasion. Since clothing is the first thing people notice about you, your attire will set the tone for how you will be noticed throughout the rest of the interaction. Always make sure to not only follow the dress code for your industry, but also for the place you are visiting. For example, in some countries in the Middle East suit jackets and ties are not usually worn, however, it is always expected for a man to dress sharp. For women, jewelry, makeup, dress/skirt length, and hair style are acity-houses-village-buildingslways factors to consider when visiting a foreign land. Make sure to always do your research on the appropriate dress code for the place you visit, and when in doubt, make sure to dress conservatively.

Interactions:

On a business trip, you will always be interacting with people, and in many occasions, people native to the place you are visiting. Greeting others can vary in different cultures, as an example, it is widely accepted in countries like Colombia or Argentina to greet and meet others with a kiss on the cheek. Local customs can vary greatly, and it is up to you to do some research beforehand in order to accommodate to them. If you are visiting a country where their first language is different from yours but they can still communicate with you, make sure to do your best to understand without correcting their mistakes, as this can be deemed impolite and lead to misunderstandings. When considering topics of conversation do some research beforehand in order to assess what topics people usually discuss. It is always a good idea to learn some history of the place you are visiting and some cultural facts, as they can always be great conversation starters. Make sure to always give out your business card properly when contact information is brought up, and treat your and his/her business card with respect. 

Personal space is also part of interacting with others. Always respect the views of other cultures when it comes to personal space. For example, patting someone on the back is okay in most Latin American countries, but it is frowned upon in China. Always be informed on these type of customs when interacting with people from another culture.
Punctuality is a factor that can vary from place to place. Being on time is not always expected, so it is always better to be prepared for your colleagues or customers to show up late. You, however, should always make sure to be early.

What is your favorite country to visit on business? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

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