Though the world grows smaller every day cultural differences still abound. If you are planning on traveling to China there are some things you will need to know. This succinct article lists eleven of those things, ranging from giving gifts to pointing fingers.
So you’re planning on visiting China. Things seem pretty simple at first. You know a few words in Chinese; you’re assuming they know a few words in English; you can ask for the bathroom, and for a bow of rice. You’re set. Except, there are a few issues you’re sure to run across when you get there. All cultures develop different verbal and non-verbal cues in conversation, and China is no exception. But what exactly do you need to know when you get there?
1. Chinese people do, sometimes, shake hands but bowing is a more common practice. If you are obviously a foreigner you may be offered a hand shake, but make sure to follow their lead.
2. Speaking of hands, don’t speak with them. Chinese people usually do not speak with their hands, and any gestures you may make will probably be confusing and unnecessary to them.
3 When introducing oneself or others use formal titles for the first meeting.
4. Don’t point with a finger. Use your open palm if you must point at something.
5. When asking you to come to them a Chinese person will extend his or her arm and wave his or her hand up and down. This may seem like waving good-bye when really they want You to come over.
6. Be on time or early for all things, especially if you are the guest. Showing up late does not give the best impression.
7. Be wary of giving gifts! Gift giving is a very delicate and cultured process in China. Make sure you are not giving a gift that signifies death (such as a clock, or anything blue).
8. Retain a neutral face when talking. Frowning is considered a sign of disagreement in China.
9. Eye contact is considered too deeply personal in China. When walking down the street or talking with someone, do not make direct eye contact.
10. The flow of conversation is different in China. Don’t try to get straight to the point, because in China the easy-going flow is more important. Just let the conversation go where it needs to go.
11. Be polite! Don’t speak out against anyone in a public setting, remember the names of the people you meet, and bow to their cultural traditions.
These are only a few tips to help you communicate in China. These will help keep you from offending anyone while there, and understand what is going on. Remember these and you will do fine.
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