Okay, wanderers, try these six questions to test your knowledge about customs in other countries.
Test your knowledge
BY PHILL FELTHAM
Okay, wanderers, let’s see how much you know about customs in other countries. Below are six questions. Test yourself and see how you do.
YOU HAVE TO SHAKE HANDS IF YOU’RE DOING BUSINESS WITH A GERMAN
a. when you meet
b. when you leave
c. when you meet and you leave
TWW Answer: It’s polite to shake hands when you meet, greet, and leave a German’s presence. In Great Britain, you only need to shake hands when you meet someone for the first time.
IF YOU’RE GIVING A PRESENT TO A FRIEND IN LATIN AMERICA, YOU MUSTN’T GIVE
b. food and drink
c. a clock
d. a gift
TWW ANSWER: Don’t give cutlery in Latin America or you’ll lose a friend; it means that you want to cut the relationship. In North America, it’s polite to bring food and drink when you’re visiting someone’s house. This isn’t the custom in Saudi Arabia. If you bring food and refreshments to someone’s home in Saudi Arabia, you are telling the host that he or she isn’t providing his or her guests with the proper rations. Don’t give a clock as a gift in Taiwan or China; to them, it means someone will die soon.
IN INDIA, IF A LOCAL SAYS ‘COME ANY TIME,’ HE OR SHE EXPECTS YOU TO
a. arrange a visit immediately
b. visit him or her the next day
c. ignore the invitation
d. move in with them
TWW Answer: You better arrange a visit immediately, or you’ll have one disappointed Indian on your hands. They’ll think you refused their invitation. It’s not like in England where if someone says come to their home at any time, some might consider it rude if you start fixing a date.
IF YOU’RE A BUSINESS PERSON IN THAILAND, YOU MUST
a. shake hands gently
c. touch their head
d. smack them in the face
TWW Answer: Shake hands very gently with a Thai. Thailand locals are not like North Americans where a weak handshake usually indicates weak character. Be sure to shake only a Thai’s right hand. Their left hands are reserved for more private matters. What do I mean? They don’t usually use toilet paper. I think you can now fill in the blanks.
IF A JAPANESE PERSON GIVES YOU THEIR BUSINESS CARD, YOU HAVE TO
a. take it with both hands and study it carefully
b. put it straight into your wallet or pocket
c. rip it up and give it back to them
TWW Answer: Business cards must be treated with respect in Japan. When you get one, study it and put it on the table in front of you in plain eye sight until your meeting with your Japanese friend is finished. In Taiwan, it’s impolite to put a business card in your wallet and to place it in your back pocket. This gesture implies that you want to sit on them.
How did you do? Send your scores to firstname.lastname@example.org. iT!
(with files from Business Objectives, published by Oxford Publishing)
Phill Feltham is a Canadian journalist with more than eight years of magazine and online experience. He was Senior Editor for the Maximum Fitness, a men’s fitness magazine, between 2007 and 2010.