We all get used to how we communicate with one another in our own comfort zone and setting. However we may not realize that certain tones, way that is phrased – may be perceived differently from someone from a different culture. So this is perhaps something to take note of when you travel, work abroad, or simply when you deal with someone of a different culture over phone during your day to day business dealings.

So how do we get along with everyone? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. First train yourself to listen more than talk.
  2. Before interacting, first study and understand the person’s culture. And see how they were raised, what are their values, and how they prefer interacting (e.g.: European vs Saudi). Each culture has their preferences.
  3. Interact with the person, see what their sensitivities are, what they are bold about, and adapt to it in your communication to them. (e.g.: To more sensitive cultures, you would greet them with a softer tone, and don’t have to handshake like a lemon squeezing competition vs. say a strong culture, like French. Understand where they come from and transmit a similar aura)
  4. Learn a bit of their language so they see you are trying to see things from their perspective, rather than be pompous that you are more superior
  5. Speak clearly, tailor to each. For some you may want to keep it simple, for others you may want to elaborate a bit further.


The two pictures in this article was from my trip to South Africa. One in the cover photo was me trying to ‘fit in’ by joining a local group doing a tribal dance. But I think my outfit gave me away and made me standout. But hey to those who are one of those guys who can’t tell a difference when your girlfriend had her hair cut, maybe i might go unnoticed. This boy and girl in a cave were South Africans who are likely of Dutch decent, showed me around a cave where they mined for gold.

Oh, and the most important thing: Bring good aura and energy. Be positive, be nice, and when people feel that – regardless of culture, race or religion, they would appreciate it, and you will accepted with open arms.

What’s the Sweet Spot for a Handshake?