Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Etiquette 101 - Every Country has its subtle taboos

Every Country has its subtle taboos and unspoken codes, but when you get down to it, it's what you say, not how you say it, that really gets you in the door. (or kicked out of the door). Any Japanese businessman will let it go if you fail to receive a business card with both hands, but bringing up uncomfortable subjects (gender relations) will lead to awkward silences and maybe even a fatal lack of trust. It's easy enough to follow such tips as "Use common sense on your home turf, but its sometimes the best intentioned questions that can land you in the most trouble abroad". In all likelihood, these and other questions will not get you banned from the family table or the conference table. But wandering into a minefield might lead to kind of awkwardness that festers beneath all the cross-cultural politeness.

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