Gestures and Culture

stockvault-the-eight-wonder100380Gestures are one of the first things to come to mind that can cause a major cultural faux pas.  People from every culture have been guilty of unintentionally offending people from other cultures through the use of inappropriate gestures.

Huffington Post reports on the dos and don’t in cultural gesturing.

For instance in America we tend to use the OK sign to communicate that everything is going well.

In many countries such as Brazil, Germany and Russia, the OK sign is offensive.  In Japan it means “money” and is commonly used in France to mean “zero“.

Another example of gesture confusion across cultures, that the article points out, is the “V” hand symbol used most often in America to represent “peace“.  Popularized during the 1960’s but first used by Winston Churchill in England around WWII, this seemingly benign symbol can mean so much more.   In Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and a few other countries, it can mean “up yours”  if it is made with the palm is facing inward.

The thumbs-up gesture is commonly used in America as well as other cultures to signify a job well done. However, in Australia, Greece, or the Middle East — especially if it is thrust up as a typical hitchhiking gesture would be — it means essentially “Up yours!” or “Sit on this!

Body Language conveys roughly 90% of what we communicate to the people around us.  It is vital especially for good relations that we are aware of how and what we communicate to people from different cultures.

Humintell understands the importance of proper communication across cultures, which is why we have developed IntelliCulture – Humintell’s cross-cultural adaptation training tool.  IntelliCulture helps you understand what culture is, which groups have culture and which do not as well as how to think critically when encountered with a difficult cultural situation.

  • Have a better understanding of the definition of culture and where it comes from
  • Understand which groups have culture and which ones don’t
  • Understand what culture is made of and how it influences behavior
  • How to overcome cultural differences
  • How to control your emotions when dealing with people from other cultures
  • Think critically when encountered with a difficult cultural situation
  • Improve interactions among people of different cultures

– See more at: http://www.humintell.com/improving-your-global-skills/#sthash.5dMqMONU.dpuf

  • Have a better understanding of the definition of culture and where it comes from
  • Understand which groups have culture and which ones don’t
  • Understand what culture is made of and how it influences behavior
  • How to overcome cultural differences
  • How to control your emotions when dealing with people from other cultures
  • Think critically when encountered with a difficult cultural situation
  • Improve interactions among people of different cultures

– See more at: http://www.humintell.com/improving-your-global-skills/#sthash.5dMqMONU.dpuf

 Do You Know Any Cultural Gestures that Weren’t Mentioned?

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