Cultural Business Differences - How to Avoid Embarrassing Situations!

International Business Culture

When doing business internationally it is not uncommon to come across an awkward marketing situation. Because of the cultural business differences that you face when doing business across the globe, you can get into hot water quick with the wrong marketing campaign.

Below are some entertaining examples of the differences in some cultures that you might find a little bit strange!

  • Physical Contact

In Singapore and Thailand it is extremely offensive to pat a child on the head. They think of the head as the location of the soul.

In Southern Europe and Arabic countries touching is a sign to show friendship and warmth. In Oriental cultures it is considered an invasion of privacy.

  • Cooking and Eating

When in Singapore, Malaysia or Norway, it is considered rude to leave anything on your plate while eating.

Egypt is just the opposite. It is considered rude to not leave anything on your plate.

Oil is used to cook in Spain and Italy, while Butter and margarine is used to cook in Great Britain and Germany.

  • Body Language

In Indonesia, placing your hands on your hips while standing is thought of as a gesture of defiance.

In Sweden, Finland, France, and Belgium you should keep your hands out of your pocket when having a conversation as it is makes a poor impression.

In Sri Lanka and Bulgaria a side to side shaking of the head means yes.

In Muslim countries it is considered a very bad insult to be called a shoe. Showing the bottoms of your shoes is also a no no.

  • Being on Time

In China and Denmark it is considered rude and lazy to not show up for a meeting or appointment on time. Being late will probably ruin any deal that would be discussed.

On the other hand if you were in a Latin country the person you are supposed to meet would be surprised if you arrived at exactly the time the meeting was scheduled.

  • Other Cultural Customs

In Sweden drinking alcohol is frowned upon, but sexual permissiveness and nudity is thought of as normal.

People in Western European countries are the least likely to buy things on credit. The only thing that most residents feel comfortable with is buying a house on credit. They will usually pay cash, even for items that cost as much as a car.

People in Spain consider receiving insurance benefits from the death of a spouse as a negative thing. Most people frown upon life insurance.

Difference between Chinese and American business culture

Let me know what you think!

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