Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands

Kiss_Bow_Shake_Hands

 

If you have ever been confused about social behaviour in your own country - should I shake hands, wait until the hand is offered, hold a door, go first? - imagine how many difficulties arise when doing business (or attempting to) in another country?

Customs vary enormously and never more so than in the rarefied air of a negotiation room where BIG money might be involved.

Enter this truly helpful book by seasoned and urbane travellers Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway, who already have an impressive number of similar books to their credit.

A recent publication Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands dealt with international politeness with the aim of gaffe-free interactions with the locals in a number of countries. This book adds a further component: doing business and selling to other cultures.

In this book, small enough to toss in your overnight bag, you learn that you could be drawn into an unexpected bear hug plus a kiss on both cheeks in Russia; in Indonesia you might be shown the door if you become too pushy when attempting to close a deal; and in Germany you should stand back a little when shaking hands. Germans appreciate more personal space, we are advised.

Twenty countries have their boardroom idiosyncrasies carefully evaluated in this hugely helpful book. How else would you know, for example, that having your business cards in a pigskin wallet or card colder would seriously insult your UAE contacts, or that even if you are a man, crossing your legs so that the sole of your shoe is visible is not acceptable to a Saudi Arabian businessman?

Each chapter has sections that clearly enunciate the pitfalls as well as the pluses. From Icebreakers (wear your designer clothes for an Italian interview) to Boorish (the things best not mentioned to your hosts), and the greetings (kissing, bowing etc) are all clearly and concisely dealt with, even down to other things such as what time you should arrive for a meeting or interview, how close to stand when talking, how to present business cards, and business strategies designed to work best for you and your clients.

All this and more is covered. There is even an appendix at the back for you to self-test (and learn) the finer points of dining around the world.

It makes sense really. Even a small faux-pas could cause your business deal to fail, so for international business people this book is a smart (and sensitive) investment.

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: Sales and Marketing, Terri Morrison & Wayne Conaway, published by McGraw Hill, 2012, paperback, rrp USD$20.

- Sally Hammond

 

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