Download …Across cultures Body Language. Body language is a non-verbal, sub- consciously interpreted and generated set of body movements, postures, gestures, etc.
…Across cultures Body Language
Body language is a non-verbal, sub- consciously interpreted and generated set of body movements, postures, gestures, etc. Since body language is not as neatly defined as a normal language is, it can be understood and interpreted in many different ways. This ambiguity and depth in understanding body language of humans and the insight it gives into the human psyche is what makes it an interesting subject to study.
These differences may arise due to many reasons: Time Economic status Social status Gender Cultural differences In this modern world, where the horizons are always expanding, and the lines between cultures are becoming thinner, it is very important to have an idea of how body language varies across cultures around the world.
Body Language Determinants Greetings Postures Gestures How people of different cultures greet each other Different gestures mean different things in different cultures. Knowing these differences is important. Interpretations of postures vary across cultures
The way two people greet each other varies widely and depends on the following factors apart from the culture those individuals belong to. Level of acquaintance Location Gender Age It is very important to know and understand the greetings of a place when you are guest there. Greetings
The hug This is a very common form of greeting in the US, where the French consider it as a very intimate gesture. The kiss-on-two-cheeks This is very common way of greeting the France. But people in the US might not be comfortable with it. Peck on the cheek Common in Britain between two females or a male and a female. Greetings (…contd)
Rubbing noses In New Zealand, among Maori people, this is called ‘Hongi’ meaning ‘sharing breath’. Bowing In Japan this can range from a slight nod in the head to a full 90 degree bend. A hand shake A common way of greeting in the US and Mexico, especially among men or between a man and a woman. Greetings (…contd)
In the US, a thumbs up means “OK” or “good”. However, it is considered an abuse in Australia, Brazil, South Italy, Germany, Greece, and some Islamic nations. Innocent yet Rude Gestures
Slurping your soup is considered good manners in Japan and implies that you actually like the food, but in most other cultures it is bad manners. In some societies like Germany punctuality is given utmost importance. Being 10 minutes late even to an informal gathering is considered very rude. It is a belief among some African people that photographing them steals their souls from them.
Pointing your feet towards a Buddha statue is a serious offence in Buddhist countries. Pointing your finger in a direction might mean showing that direction in many cultures, but in Middle East and Russia, is a no-no. It is preferable to show a direction with an open palm. The victory sign may seem harmless; but in Britain, if you show it with the palm facing you, it is a very offensive gesture.
Having your fingers crossed is generally a sign of good luck in many a places, but not in Paraguay. It is considered offensive there. Snapping your fingers to get someone’s attention sends a vulgar message in France and Belgium.
Hands in pockets might be common in some places, but is considered impolite in many regions around the world. Hook ‘em Horns are supposed to be a cheering symbol in Texas, wishing good luck in Brazil and a curse in Africa!
The OK sign is one such sign which has many multiple meanings. In America, it may mean approval. In Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Greece, it is a very offensive insult. In southern France, it might also mean ‘zero’ or ‘worthless’ depending on the facial expression. Gestures with Multiple Meanings
Shaking head sideways In the US, it means ‘no’. In Bulgaria, it means ‘yes’. Nodding the head up and down In the US, it means ‘yes’. In Bulgaria, it means ‘no’.
Postures are a very important form of body language, and are generally involuntary unlike gestures. Like gestures, even postures carry various meanings across cultures. Postures
Crossing legs when sitting: In a survey it was found that American men found their European counterparts to be slightly feminine. This is attributed to the way they sit. American men cross their legs in an ankle-on-knee fashion whereas the European men cross their legs in both the ankle-on-knee fashion and knee-on-knee fashion. In America, the knee-on-knee fashion is exclusive to women, and seldom do men sit in this way, which causes American men to see a feminine side in the way European men sit.
Actions and postures speak louder than words. In today’s world, where globalization is an unstoppable phenomenon, knowing and understanding body language, its interpretation around the world, and its cultural significance is very important in building and maintaining good business relationships. Conclusions REPLAY