[Infographic] Greeting Across Cultures

Matthew MacLachlan

27 Oct 2016

We all know that first impressions count. How you greet someone is part of this first impression. Get it right and your relationship is on a solid footing – get it wrong and you may struggle to regain trust.

Greeting is much more complicated than you might think when you are greeting someone from a different country. We have created this infographic to help get you started on the right path when greeting across cultures.

Why it is key to get your greeting across cultures right

We make up our minds about someone in the first 3 seconds of meeting them

The researcher Mehrabian stated that in communication, we deduce only 7% of meaning through the words we say and a further 38% through how we say it. That leaves 55% of meaning that comes through body language, and the accompanying gestures.

If we combine that statistic with another – that we make up our minds about someone in the first 3 seconds of meeting them – we need to spend much more time understanding greetings.

After all, it is only half the job to learn how to say zdrastvuitje, or wa’asalam alekum, or even bonjour. Even in a formal business context, a good firm handshake may cause embarrassment, or damage your reputation in some intercultural situations.

In communication, we deduce only 7% of meaning through the words we say and a further 38% through how we say it

To help you decide on the best greeting, we’ve created the infographic below.

Greeting Across Cultures

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