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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

going dutch in budapest

I was at the ITIC conference in Budapest last week to give a talk on 'global etiquette' based on Going Dutch. The feedback afterwards from the variety of international delegates was extremely interesting. One told of a presentation at a conference in China not being as effective as it might have been because they used their normal blue balloons to decorate their stand. After a local pointed out that blue is the colour of mourning, the balloons were changed to red, the colour of good fortune.
Another delegate, an Australian doctor, told me that she'd been working in Jordan and found that as a woman some of the local doctors didn't want to return her proferred handshake. Puzzled and a bit offended by this, she mentioned this to some American colleagues in the evening, who were instantly up in arms: 'Which doctor? We need to have a word with him?' Truly a double-whammy of intercultural confusion!