If you plan to travel anywhere in the world, it is important to know the rules and norms of where you are going. Many travelers on their own experience find out what gestures are appropriate, what choice of fashion will cause you trouble, what is the permitted age of alcohol consumption, what you can talk freely and what you can not talk about without insulting people.
Culture is something that many of us ignore when we travel abroad or even make friends with people from different backgrounds. In your culture it may be polite to look someone in the eye when you talk to him, perhaps it would be normal to call someone older than you by name, it may be normal to kiss someone on the cheek at the first meeting.
Even such a simple solution as wearing a double swimsuit can lead to unwanted attention and underestimation of popular beach destinations such as Dubai or Goa.
But these “normal” decisions you have just made will be offensive in many parts of the world. People can make decisions about you and dismiss you as unreliable, disrespectful, or totally inappropriate. These decisions were made on the basis of what you consider normal behavior.
Travelers and businessmen need a ready-made calculator – a place where you can find information about customs, traditions, laws, non-verbal instructions, religion and even superstitions of the most popular places in the world. A cultural link is needed to help people improve intercultural communication, offend others or, worse, break the law in another country.
This information is absolutely necessary for anyone who is going to go abroad or who has friends from different cultures. A gesture that means “grandiose” in your country can be a curse in another country. Learning not to offend people and make informed decisions, you will be able to make friends and impress them.
In a country like Singapore, you can be fined for profligacy, while you can criticize the government in Western countries such as Australia and America, but only in Asia or the Middle East. It can be a real tactlessness that can offend people and even you have problems with the authorities. In other countries, people are serving prison sentences for criticizing heads of state, even in an informal setting.
Business travelers should also know the customs, traditions and ways of doing business before boarding a plane. Armed with the right knowledge, it can lead to a profitable business and a better reputation. However, simple mistakes can cost you your business operations and your reputation. Knowing whether to hand over documents with your right or left hand or discuss issues over lunch can make a big difference to your overall success.
If someone nods to you, agrees or disagrees, if you hug someone you’ve just offended, let people go before you declare your politeness, or that means they have power and status. Here are some of the questions that business travelers need to address.
“Culture on Demand” is an application available to travelers, businessmen and anyone who wants to improve their communication with people from different cultures. Culture on Demand is now available on Google Play and will soon be available on the iTunes Store. What you do in your country may be normal, but you can break the law in other parts of the world.