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International Etiquette

Professionals who are doing global business must know the etiquette of the places where they travel. This Fox News video shares some examples with us.
  • In Russia, Vodka is not meant to be mixed with other drinks. People should also expect to finish drinking a whole bottle if they open one and put the empty bottle on the floor.
  • In Japan (also in Korea), never pour a drink on one’s own. Alcohol or tea must be poured by somebody else.
  • In Asian, always use both hands to give or receive something such as letters, business cards, brochures, etc. (This is my personal comment).
  • In Thailand, it is fine to pick on one’s nose in front of others (I actually doubt about this one).
  • Some body languages may mean completely different things in different cultures and/or countries.
  • Drinks may not be served with ice. As matter of fact, many Asian women prefer to drink warm or room-temperature water or tea. Americans may have to ask for ice if traveling to an international location.
  • And so forth …
It is important that we respect other people’s culture and traditions. It never hurts to ask people what are the Does and Don’ts in their culture. How much do you value international etiquette? What “interesting” traditions did you experience in an international location? Before you travel, what research will you do to understand the etiquette of the destination(s)?
 

Comments

  1. Disrespecting another countries’ culture can also lead to poor service. For example, a custom in France is to greet everyone you meet with “Hello, how are you.” In addition, a person is expected to wait for a response. When I failed to abide by this custom in France, people did not treat me with respect and refused to serve me in restaurants and shops. They viewed me as rude and disrespectful. It is important, as a result, for a person to do their research before traveling. Travelers should familiarize themselves with acts that are considered offensive and which ones are accepted.

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  2. I agree that it is a challenge for many tourists to get to know, learn and understand international etiquette. It is one thing to physically go to the country and experience it first hand, but I think educating ourselves a little about that country’s etiquette before we take our trip will help dramatically. As tourists, we want to try to not offend the people of the country. Of course, we won’t know every little thing about the country, but at least we will get to know the customs of that culture better.

    International etiquette is more than manners and social customs. There are many policies that as foreigners, we might not know about. For example, in numerous countries, the tip policy is different. According to a BBC report, in China and many other East Asian countries, you do not have to leave tip at all. On the contrary, places like Mexico, you are required and expected to leave a tip, whether it is at a restaurant or riding a taxi cab. If you didn’t research things like this beforehand, there could have been a high chance of you spending extra money on things like this. For many budget travelers, this would be an important aspect of their travel.

    Hence, knowing a little about the place you are going to doesn’t sound all that bad. Some things may seem unusual, but it might be considered normal in that society. We should learn to accept different customs no matter the circumstances. In the end, it’s all a part of the learning experience.

    Here’s the link to the BBC report I read about tipping.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A640018

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  3. Thank you for sharing the BBC report, Helen. It was very informative.

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  4. International etiquette is very important, It shows that you are a very cultured person, and it also shows that you have respect for that culture. For a foreigner to know proper ethics and etiquette means a lot to the people of that country. Using proper etiquette can benefit you in several ways; It may increase the level of service you receive in another country and also, people will treat you with more respect since using proper etiquette is a sign of showing respect.

    International etiquette is also very important in the business world. As international business continues to grow, it is important to maintain positive business relationships with clientele as well as employees. Using the proper etiquette of the country you are in at a simple meeting or dinner can impress the people you are meeting or dinning with, which will give a positive outlook on your knowledge and personality.

    It is better to have some sort of knowledge about the proper etiquette in other countries than to not know anything about the certain etiquette it at all. Knowing proper international etiquette simply shows that you are a diverse and respectful person that cares about other cultures.

    - Eric Hernandez

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