Much has been written about body language and how we can use it to read the intentions of others or promote our own agendas. What is surprising is that body language differs, depending on where you happen to be. Gestures, mannerisms, eye contact, and facial expressions vary around the globe. For the traveler, understanding global body language can be useful.
In some countries, for example, eye contact is necessary and shows respect and interest. In others, full eye contact is cause for embarrassment and can be downright rude. There are also important cultural differences when it comes to personal space requirements and the amount of touch involved. We’ve all felt the discomfort of others who step into our personal space, so be aware and keep your distance.
Businessmen and diplomats know the importance of understanding body language in different countries. It is essential to read the non-verbal communication of the people that they meet. Non-verbal communication is often more powerful than what we say as it can convey masses of information to the astute watcher.
This infographic offers some interesting differences in body language across the globe. It is far from exhaustive, but it does give us an idea of how much body language can differ from place to place. The best way to ensure that you don’t offend people from other cultural groups is to watch the gestures of others and try to mirror them.