My birthday in Paris! Ou la la! This was my first time in the city – what an amazing place.[audio:http://whatyourbodysays.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/episode-110.mp3|titles=Non-verbal No-Nos from Paris]
Listen in to my crazy experience with cross-cultural communications and the use of nonverbal “jargon”.
Responding to gestures — especially smiles and other emotional facial expressions — is instinctive and cross-cultural. But while members of all cultures respond to non-verbals, we don’t necessarily do so in the same way, or consider them to have uniform meanings. For example; in North America, the okay gesture of the thumb and forefinger making a circle means everything is fine (or, “okay”). In Japan, it means money; and in France, it means empty or zero. In Brazil and Russia it can be an obscene gesture.
If you do a lot of international business, it’s a good idea to study up on what is and isn’t acceptable in various countries and across different societies. Observe the local culture in different companies as well as varied countries. When in doubt — or if you don’t understand what you see — just ask. The answer might surprise you.
Each corporate culture, profession or group has their own non-verbal gestures as well as have jargon. It’s impossible to know or write about all of them; but by examining the four main types of gestures in What Your Body Says, you will be steps ahead in getting your point across. The four intentional gesture categories are:
There are countless gestures one can use to express elements of these four topics. Therefore, it’s best to learn, practice and adapt the basic ones. A fun way to learn about gestures and their meanings isafter reading What Your Body Says (and how to master the message) choose one and practice a new one each day and observe how others react. Then start to combine gestures to make patterns – it’s great fun to practice and experiment and then see how others react! Only you know what you are practicing…..