Body Languages meaning in Different Cultures
Eye Contact: In North America, intermittent eye contact is important in conveying interest and attention. In some of Asian, African, and Latin American cultures, extended eye contact is considered a “threat.” In many Middle Eastern cultures, intense eye contact between the same genders often means trust and sincerity. However, eye contact between opposite genders, especially in Muslim cultures, anything more than brief eye contact is considered inappropriate. And, in some cultures, a woman should look down when talking to a man. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Greetings: In America, we have the standard greeting: “Hello, my name is…” with a handshake. At a networking event, chances are persons from a different culture will probably assimilate into everyone else’s style. However, there are other greetings which you should be aware. In Japan, people bow. In Italy, people kiss cheeks. In Bangladesh, one makes a relaxed salute with the right hand. In Greece, back-slapping takes the place of shaking hands in many greetings. Some Africans in South Africa have a complicated handshake; step one: interlock pinkies. Step two: clasp fists. Step three: back to the pinkies. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Touching: Did you know that in some sects of Judaism, the only woman that a man will touch in his lifetime is the woman he is married to? In Japan, touching is less frequent. In Latino cultures, touching is encouraged. When you travel to other countries, never touch a person’s head. This can be religiously offensive. Really, when you are out networking, just don’t touch – except to shake hands. If you are comfortable, let the other person guide what is appropriate to them.
It is important to know body language differences when you travel to different countries. I hope the information above can help you understand other countries’ body languages.
Submitted by Peiran Zheng
Wikipedia. (2015). Eye Contact. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_contact
Wikipedia. (2015). Body Language. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_language