Find examples of the types of nonverbal communication that are specific to a foreign culture and compare these to your own culture. Analyse how the nonverbal communication of both cultures could impact upon business dealings between the two.
Nonverbal communication is the act of communicating without speaking, and instead involves the use of gestures, facial expressions and body language and is an important part of how people communicate, sometimes more powerful than verbal interaction, and makes up a large portion of daily interpersonal communication. Most acts of nonverbal communication are learned behaviour and are done unconsciously. What is considered acceptable nonverbal communication differs from culture to culture – hand and arm gestures, touch and eye contact, or lack of, are the aspects of nonverbal communication that may vary significantly depending on cultural background.
China is one of the largest countries in the world and, due to the influence of Confucius’ philosophical thinking, the Chinese are quite reserved with the gestures that convey emotions being comparatively less expressive than most modern Western societies such as Australia (Chinese Emotion and Gestures, 2013). Examples of the differences of gestures in China – and a majority of other Asian cultures – that that can easily be made offensive when done wrong is pointing with only the index finger as this is considered rude; generally the Chinese will point using their entire hand using an open fist. Also, using a finger to indicate someone to “come here please” is offensive as this is the gesture used to beckon dogs – to avoid offending someone in China when asking them to “come here” one must face the palm of their hand to the ground and move their fingers in a scratching motion (The Importance of Nonverbal Communication, 2012). In China, social status defines the way others should be greeted – to show respect to an authority figure or elder, one will lower their head slightly...
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