my name is dominik. i am from germany. i have some questions about intercultural behavior in countries like spain and mexico.
how do you greet customers and suppliers? do you shake hands like in germany? do you call them by their first name or their last name?
thanks for your help!
Hello Dominik, I am Mónica from Mexico I am not into the business environment but in normal relationships, I think, what Jorge told you is also valid in Mexico. Shake hands when you need to be more formal and maybe only in the first date (greeting and goodbye), or with people which is necesary to hold always same formality and distance.
My name is Helen and I am from Spain.
In our intercultural behavior in Spain, when we greet customers and suppliers we do you shake hands like in germany, but if it is with a women friend (not with customers or suplliers ...), we give two kisses to them, one on each sidecheeks.
I hope have been useful to you. I hope we can chat some day. Bye. Helen.
Also, one thing that I have noted in meetings with non Spanish persons is that mentioned habitual practice of two kisses to a woman, if she is not Spanish, results in something a bit embarrassing. Don´t you think the same?
Hello everybody, my name is Umut. I am from Turkey. We greet saying that ''Selamun aleykum'' in Turkey. And we shake hands each other. We call them by their first name.
My name is Guillermo, future degree in business administration. I'm from Mexico...
to do business in Mexico is easy but you must take care of the aspects of punctuality, everything in order legally speaking, also take care of your way of greeting... in the culture of Mexico must open and close a business with a handshake and look after their variants aspects... in Mexico, you can do business inviting people to a meal, also depends on the person with whom the negotiations, which can be very direct and avoid both roll... regularly no difference in calling his name or surname, as long as the first relates to their profession, for example say: Good morning Degree Dominik! or Engineer Dominik, etc. etc...
I greet you from Mexico... Success! :D
My name is Jorge Palma. I am from Spain.
You can say your customer shake hands and tell him for his last name (Vorname) if friendship don´t exists (Buenos días Señor Palma, in my case), but if friendship exists you can shake hands and tell him with first name (¿Qué tal Jorge?, in my case)
¿Qué tal Jorge? = How are you Jorge? (with previous friendship)
Buenos días Sr. Palma = Good morning Mr. Palma (without previous friendship)
You can greet this way:
Hello = Hola
Good morning, afternoon, "evening - night" = Buenos días, Buenas tardes, "Buenas noches"
How are you? = ¿Qué tal? = ¿Cómo estás?
I think this topic is very important, not only for work, but also for trips and cultural exchange. I find very interesting how different can be the life in other places of the world!!!
I wanna share with you next paragraphs (I read it in my English book) and I found it in the Internet. I don't know if all is true, but we can find out more about intercultural behaviour.
(Sorry about my English, I am working at it!!)
A WORLD GUIDE TO GOOD MANNERS (taken from New Headway)
(How not to behave badly abroad)
Traveling to all corners of the world gets easier and easier. We live in a global village, but this doesn’t mean that we all behave in the same way.
How should you behave when you meet someone for the first time? An American or Canadian shakes your hand firms while looking you straight in the eyes. In many parts of Asia, there is no physical contact at all. In Japan, you should bow, and the more respect you want to show, the deeper you should bow. In Thailand, the greeting is made by pressing both hands together at the chest, as if you are praying, and bowing your head slightly. In both countries, eye contact is avoided as a sign of respect.
Many countries have rules about what you should and shouldn’t wear. In Asian and Muslim countries, you shouldn’t reveal the body, especially women, who should wear long-sleeved blouses and skirts below the knee.
In Japan, you should take off your shoes when entering a house or a restaurant. Remember to place them neatly together facing the door you came in. This is also true in China, Korea, Thailand, and Iran.
• Food and drink
In Italy, Spain, and Latin America, lunch is often the biggest meal of the day, and can last two or three hours. For this reason many people eat a light breakfast and a late dinner. In Britain, you might have a business lunch and do business as you eat. In Mexico and Japan, many people prefer not to discuss business while eating. Lunch is time to relax and socialize, and the Japanese rarely drink alcohol at lunchtime. In Britain and the United States, it’s not unusual to have a business meeting over breakfast, and in China it’s common to have business banquets, but you shouldn’t discuss during the meal.
• Doing business
In most countries, an exchange of business cards is essential for all introductions. You should include your company name and your position. If you are going to a country where your language is not widely spoken, you can get the reverse side of your card printed in the local language. In Japan you must present your card with both hands, with the writing facing the person you are giving it to.
In many countries business hours are from 9.00 or 10.00 to 5.00 or 6.00. However, in some countries, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, some people close in the early afternoon for a couple of hours then remain open until the evening.
Japanese business people consider it their professional duty to go out after work with colleagues to restaurants, bars, or nightclubs. If you are invited, you shouldn’t refuse, even if you don’t feel like staying out late.
• In many Asian cultures, it is acceptable to smack your lips when you eat. It means that the food is good.
• In France, you shouldn’t sit down in a café until you’ve shaken hands with everyone you know.
• In India and the Middle East, you must never use the left hand for greeting, eating, or drinking.
• In China, your host will keep refilling your dish unless you lay your chopsticks across your bowl.
• Most South Americans and Mexican like to stand very close to the person they’re talking to. You shouldn’t back away.
• In Russia, you must match your hosts drink for drink or they will think you unfriendly.
• In Ireland, social events sometimes end with singing and dancing. You may be asked to sing.
• In America, you should eat your hamburger with both hands and as quickly as possible. You shouldn’t try to have a conversation until it is eaten.
Evaluating Intercultural Behavior
Different cultures in various countries have their unique values and behaviors. In this generation of globalization and global migration trend, it is no longer difficult to observe different ethics of diverse cultures living together in a same society. Thus, it is a vital for us to understand and adapt to the various cultural behaviors in order to foster effective communication. In 2007, I embarked on an Overseas Cultural Exchange Programme to Myanmar with the NUSSU Volunteer Action Club (NVAC) team. During the stay in Myanmar, we visited various monasteries and conducted English enrichment classes in orphanages, interacting with the orphans and teachers. Myanmar, to me, is a mysterious and less-known country; hence I was not sure if I could embrace the various cultural behaviors of the Burmese in contrast with Singaporeans. However, with the aid of Burmese facilitators and seniors, I observed and learnt the different mannerisms and values of the rich-filled Burmese culture with not much difficulty.
After spending the first few days with the host family in a small but cozy village hut, I observed that it is considered rude to touch a person's head, because the head was deemed the most important part of the body. It is also taboo to touch another's feet, and made worse by pointing with the foot at someone who is older. This is because the feet are considered the lowest and nobody there thinks much of it. Additionally, patting a child on the head is not only improper but is thought to be dangerous to the child's well-being. This is very much unlike the tradition in Singapore where we are so used to patting a child on his head either to sleep or to praise him. I also learnt that pointing a finger at Buddha images or sculptures is considered an act of disrespect, even though this custom has slowly eroded. As typical Singaporeans, we had initially wanted to pose with the Buddha sculptures by pointing at it in awe. However, we were stopped by the austere monks. Inevitably, we learnt and adapted to their cultural practices to prevent any possible clashes.
In the orphanage school, we conducted an English postcard session, where we taught the Burmese students to write and draw postcards to Singapore students as part of an organized exchange programme. We were greeted by the students folding their arms as we made our entrance into the dilapidated outdoor classrooms. Initially, we thought that the students were shy towards us since we were considered foreigners to them. It was only after a brief chat with the facilitators did we realize that the act of folding of arms is actually a form of respect towards distinguished guests. In Singapore, this gesture would be deemed as being hostile. Clearly, there are huge differences between us and them. While having communal meals in the orphanage, I also came to realize that the Elders are served first at meals, and in their absence a spoonful of rice is put aside first in the pot as a token of respect before serving the meal. Young people would avoid sitting on a higher level than the elders or passing the food in front of them. If they really had to pass the food, they would tread softly with a slight bow. Things would be passed to the elders using both hands together.
After spending two weeks in Myanmar, I have learnt quite a bit from their cultural behavior. This trip made me feel the necessity to respect each other’s values so as to prevent any possible intercultural conflicts.