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There is an increasing need for individuals and companies to be culturally aware; to be familiar with practices and beliefs outside of their own culture. Mobilisation of individuals, whether for personal reasons, or business purposes has never been higher, but there are pitfalls associated with arriving unprepared in a foreign land.
Understanding the cultural intricacies which make-up the fabric of a society will lead to a far smoother path, in being accepted and embraced by its people. Becoming culturally aware shows respect, and a willingness to operate outside the limits of an individual's root culture. This has far reaching effects in term sof both personal and business transactions.
If travelling (or relocating) abroad is on the horizon, whether alone or as a part of a larger team, becoming familiar with what to expect, and what will be expected of you, is a must.
Our digital age means that all of us need the skills to operate at a global level, as we connect and communicate with people of many cultures in our daily lives.
Did you know?..
There is no word for 'please' in Finnish, Danish, Swedish or Icelandic.
Different cultures have a varied approach to timekeeping - for some being late to a meeting is frowned upon, others to be expected. In Venezuela it is downright rude to arrive at someone's house for dinner on time!
In Japan it is considered very rude to point at someone with the narrow end of a chopstick, which should also not be used to pick-up pieces of shared food.
'Splitting the bill' for a business lunch is not usual in Turkey. The host will expect to pay, but a reciprocal invitation for a meal at your expense would be a welcome gesture.
Strict Norwegian table manners mean that nearly all foods are eaten with a knife and fork - even sandwiches.
Gifts of flowers have a divers association across cultures; In Russia yellow flowers indicate deceit and infidelity, while in China all flowers are associated with death.