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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Thursday, November 09, 2006
BEHAVE YOURSELF: PART II
ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL ETIQUETTE: PART II

1.) UNITED KINGDOM

Meeting and Greeting
On first meeting, greet with a firm handshake (men or women), while smiling and maintainint good eye contact, and say "How do you do?" or more generally "Please to meet you". In less formal situations or with a large group of people, using the American group wave and saying "HI" is okay. Outside the business it isn't customary to shake hands again when leaving.

Friends (not men) oten kiss on one or two cheeks. Because there is no longer a norm, few people in the UK really know whether they should shake hands or how many cheeks to kiss, so introductions can sometimes be quite awkward.

Punctuality is important, but it is customary to arrive about 15 minutes late to a dinner party.

CONVERSATION
In social events, you are expected to make small talk with those you have just met; favorite topics include the weather and your journey ("Have you come far?")
although any topic is acceptable as long as the conversation keeps flowing without uncomfortable pauses' and you are polite, smile and show genuine interest in what other people have to say.

Overt displays of status and wealth are vulgar, but often subtle social markers seep into the conversation because people casually drop in details about their lifestyle to establish their place in the pecking order.

Asking someone "What do you do?" is considered rather clumsy, and the British tend to take a more indirect route to find out such information. For example "Do you travel much for your work?" gives the other person the chance to reveal what he or she does for a living., should that person wish to slip it into the conversation.

In general, you will be judged more on your social confidence and how you present yoruself than on what you can say.

EATING AND DRINKING
Place your napkin on your lap; don't tuck it under your chin.

With many courses, start with the cutlery on the outside and work you way in. Keep your knife and fork in your right and left hands, respectively, at all times; don't put down your knife to eat with your fork in the United States style.

To make a toast, raise you glass as high as your head and say "Cheers". It isn't necessary to maintain eye contact while toasting. A toast is usually only said once, rather than repeated as us customary in eastern Europe.

In business, the host usually pays; otherwise, it is normal to split the bill unless someone has expressly taken you out for a treat. Even then you should make a show of wanting to make a contribution before you graciously accept.

Avoid smoking during a meal, and donot smoke in a nonsmoking area in a restaurant.

OUT AND ABOUT
Cutting in line is considered very rude. Sometimes Brit will be quietly indignant without actually confronting you about it, whereas other times, someone will curtly tell you to wait in line. It all depends on the size of the line (and the size of the people).

Public displays of affection are acceptable in moderation, but if a couple get too explicit, they are likely to be viewed with ridicule (rather than with any sense of moral outrage), since prolonged petting is considered adolescent and in poor taste.

Talking to strangers is more common in the north of the UK, but in the big cities (especailly London) it is uncommon. Also, people rarely speak to strangers on the Tube (underground train system).

DRESS
Business dress among senior managers is quite conservative, although in many companies a shirt and tie without a jacket is acceptable, as are a skirt or pants and a blouse for women (or even casual dress, depending on the corporate culture). It is not uncommon to see all these styles of dress in the same company, depending on status and which people are in contact with customers or other corporations.

Unlike many egalitarian European countries, where everyone dresses the same regardless of status, in the UK social standing and wealth greatly influence choice of clothing. In general, an upper-middle-class preson would dress in smart casual clothing rather than a jogging suit, a football shirt, and designer tennis shoes, although everyone is free to express themselves. You would have to wear soemthing very outrageous to attract stares.

People dress up to go out in the evening, but this varies greatly depending on social status and corresponding choice of entertainment. For instance, in a cinema, practially any clothing is acceptable, whereas a first-class restaurant would expect diners to wear smart casual clothing or a jacket and tie.

In some homes you should remover your shoes (except during a dinner party), in others it does'nt matter. When in doubt, as.

GIFTS AND TIPS
Always bring a good bottle of wine to a dinner party. Flowers for the hostess are optional although much appreciated.

A service charge is usually only added to the bill in very fancy restaurants. You should add 10 percent as long as the service was acceptable.


2.) BELGIUM

MEETING AND GREETING
Shake hands when greeting and departing. Greet every member of a group individually with a handshake.

Stand up when greeting a woman, and wait for her to offer her hand.

Belgians reserve les trois bises(three air cheek kisses, alternating right,left,right) for those they know well. Don't presume to initiate this greeting, but be prepared to reciprocate if someone offers his or her cheek.

CONVERSATION
Belgium is composed of three linguistic groups and 10 provinces. The north (Flanders) is Flemish (Dutch) speaking; the south (Wallonia) is French speaking enclave in the east. Always be aware of whom you are addrressing and to which group they belong. However, don't highlight this linguistia and cultural diversity, as it can be uneasy subject. Remember, Belgium has repeated been occupied by foregin powers.

The Belgians are not demonstrably patriotic, and their culture is very diverse and often difficult for an outsider to define in simple terms. If you are tempted to dismiss them as prarochial and lacking in a national identity, keep quiet and try to open yourself to the subtleties of this highly individualistic and prgmatic society.

Belgians appear reserved and starchy at first, but they have a subtel and self-pepracting sense of humor. Boasting or showing off your status is not welcome here, as the natives are egalitarian and antiauthoritarian, despite their apparent dormality. They are also very tolerant of other cultures and they dislike moralizing, so if you've got strong opinions, keep them to yourself. Live and let live.

Belgians subversive nature is demonstrated by the affection they hold for one of their most popular, if understated, tourist attractions - the Manneken Pis in Brussels - a tiny statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain.

Use Monsieur, Madame, or Mademoiselle for French-speaking, or Meneer,Mevrouw, or Juffrow for Flemish-speakkers, to mean Mr. Mrs., or Miss.

Speak in a calm and composed manner at all times. Raising your voice, gesturing or becoming too animated is unwelcome.

Maintain good posture - no slouching or hanging loose. Donot put your hands in your pockets.

EATING AND DRINKING
When toasting reaise your glass twice - once while the toast is being said and again just before drinking.

It is polite to eat everything on your plate and enjoy your food. The Belgians relish the good life and they don't like to be wasteful. Compliment the food. Blegians take thier cuisine very seriously, and sets a very high standard.

Smoking is widespread and allowed in most places. Offer your cigarettes around before lighting up. Don't smoke during a meal, although it is acceptble to do so before the food arrives and after the dessert has been cleared away.

The penalty for drunk driving is severe and may result in a prison sentence.

OUT AND ABOUT
Belgian are not comfortable with alot of bodily contact, so maintain an arms length of personal space and avoid backslapping and other overt physical expressions.

Don't drop into a Belgian home unannounced even family members phone first to make arrangement to visit.

Use your whole hand when ponting, and don't chew gum or blow your nose in public.

DRESS
In keeping with their dignity and sense of decorum, Belgians dress well and judge others on their personal appearance. Good quality clothes and simple elegance are respected.

GIFTS AND TIPS
Gift giving is rare in business circles, but you should bring flowers or wine when visiting a Belgian home. Don't bother bringing chocolates form home, sicne they make some of the best in the world. Open gifts imediately and show your appreciation with quiet dignity.


3.) THE NETHERLANDS

MEETING AND GREETING
The Dutch are very warm and welcoming although introduction can be quite formal, and often don't include a lot of smiling. Use a firm handshake with good eye contact. Shake hands with men and women. Close friends (except two men) may kiss each other on the cheeks three times (left,right,left)

Punctuality is very important, especially in business. Arrive on time to social events.

The Dutch are sticklers for good time managment and will not appreciate a sudden change of plans.

CONVERSATION
Discussion of politics is welcome in the Netherlands. But beware, because the Dutch are very well informed. However, it is very rude to ask how someone votes in an election.

Despite being very individualistic, the Dutch are attracted to logic and facts, so expect a hyperbolic emotional speech to be viewed with confusion and embarassment. Speak in a clam and composed manner at all times, and be direct and straighforward. Raising your voice, gesturing or becoming too animated is unwelcome.

Complimenting other people's clothes or achievements is customary in many cultures, but not in the Netherlands, where compliments are thought to highlight an individual above the group. Consensus and equality are very inmportant.

EATING AND DRINKING
Dinner is eaten early. An invitation for 6:30 p.m. usually means dinner, whereas an invitation for 8p.m. is often for after dinner drinks. If you're not sure, check with your host.

The host and hostess sit at opposite ends of the table, and the guests of honor sit to the right of the hosts. Eat with your knife and fork, even for fruit, pizza and sandwiches.

There is a difference between a cafe and a coffee shop. Both sell coffee and food, but in the latter you can also legally buy and smoke marijuana or hash oil. Don't take or use the drugs outside of this establishment.

OUT AND ABOUT
When entering a small shop, you should acjnowledge everyone and say hello. In other respects the Dutch are quite reserved and will not spontaneously enter into conversation in public with strangers.

Don't keep smiling, making jokes, and being overly friendly too soon; you will gain more trust and respect if you are restrained and dignified at first. Friendship and trust are built slowly; overfamiliarity is considered superficial and is viewed with distrust. Compromise and consensus are very important, but so are asserting own rights and making individual choices while toleratin the lifestyles and cultures of others.

Directness and honesty are important, so yo shoild only extend invitation or make offers on which you intend to follow through.

DRESS
Dutch people are smart dressers who believe in presenting a clean and elegant image. Good taste and modesty are valued above showiness and ostantatious displays of wealth. Rich people do not flaunt their wealth wearing conspicously expensive clothes and accessories.

Business dress varies form the conservative to very casual, depending on the profession. In some cases, the more senior employees dress more casually than those in the lower positions.

GIFTS AND TIPS
If you are invited to dinner at a Dutch home, arrive on time and bring some flowers or a modest gift for the hostess. If you bring wine, it will probably be left unopened because your host will already have chosen wine especially to compliment the menu.

In restaurant a service charge of 10 percent is automatically added to the bill. You may add up to 10 percent for excellent service, but it is not obligatory.


4.) NORWAY

MEETING AND GREETING
Punctuality is very improtant in business and for social events. You must call ahead if you are going to be late.

Greet everyone in the room with a firm handshake and good eye contact say , "Good Dag", or "Good Day" Shake hands again when you leave, rather than using a group wave.

Even good friends rarely hug and kiss, so avoid bear hugs and backlaps even with those you know well, unless they initiate them. Allowe plenty of personal space between yourself and others unless the beer has been flowing in which case Norwegians get very touchy-feely.

Keep hand gestures to a minimum. Norwegians can be quiet and shy until you know them well, so don't draw attention to yoruself with gregarious behaviour. Norwegians, like many Scandinavians, like to party hard on weekeneds.

Most people will use du (you) if they don't know you well. Herr (Mr.), or Frue (Mrs.) is rarely used.

Norwegians are Scandinavian, but they aren't Danish ior Swedish, so don't offend people by lumping them together or confusing Norwegian withe these other nationalities.

CONVERSATION
Norwegians are polite and straightforward. They appreciate directness in conversation. Although they can appear reserved at first, they will quickly become warm and friendly as you gain their trust.

At a dinner party, don't wait for the host to introduce you to others, it is up to you to break the ice.

Don't call the Sami people Lapps or Laplanders. (It is akin to calling an Innuit person an Eskimo).

EATING AND DRINKING
Eating and drinkin out are very expensive in Scandinavia, and especially Norway, so Norwegians like to save money by gathering at someone's house for a vorspiel or pre-party, at about 8p.m. to have a few drinks before hitting the town around midnight. Going to someone's house for a drink after closing time is called nachspiel or after party.

When dining at home, don't start eating before the host. To toast, lifet your glass, catch someone's eye, take a sip, look back at that person, and nod before putting the glass down.

Before leaving the table after a meal, always thank the hostess or cook, by saying "Takk for maten", or "Thanks for the food", The guest or honor, seated to the left of the host, will often make a short speech of thanks (called a Skol) The next time you meet your host you can even say "Takk for sist". (Thanks for the other night").

OUT AND ABOUT
The standard of living is very high, Norwegian often take a trip to neighboring Sweden tot ake advantage of the lower prices.

When driving don't expect Norwegian to use turn signals.

When visiting an office, don't be surprised to see that someone's dog is sleeping under his or her desk.

Norwegians are not keen at all on working overtime, most people clear out of their office before the day finishes at 4p.m. (The workign starts at 8a.m.)

DRESS
Norwegian men dress very casually, even at work, and may even wear jeans to a meeting. For fancier social occasions it is customery to arrive in a pair of outdoor shoes and change into dressier indoor shoes upon arrival. (especailly when it's been snowing). For casual visits remove your shoes at the door.

Many restaurants expect you to hang up your coat or hand it to the coat checkroom before being shown to your table.

GIFTS AND TIPS
Bring a small gift when you are invited to someone's house. Flowers, chocoltae or wine are acceptable.


5.) SWEDEN

MEETING AND GREETING
Punctuality is very important. You must arrive on time, not even five minutes early and certainly not late. A social invitation for 8p.m. means just that-the food may already be on table. If you are going to be late, call the host ahead to warn and apologize.

Greet with a firm handshake (with men and women) while maintaining good eye contact, and say "God Dag" ("Good Day"). Shake hand again upon departure. "Hello" is "Hej"(pronounced hay)and "Goodbye" is "Hej da" (pronounced hay door). When entering a shop or restaurant, you shpuild acknowledge everyone (except customers) with a "Hej".

CONVERSATION
Swedes say "Tack" ("Thank you") a lot. If you want to say "Thank you very much" say "Tack tack" or "Tack sa mycket" (pronounced tak sa moo ka.)

Keep hand gestures to a minimum. The Swedes use few gestures when speaking and are not comfortable with alot of bodily contct, so maintain an arm's length of personal space and avoid backslapping and other overt physical expressions. Speak in a calm and composed manner at all times. You rarely hear people raising thei voices in Sweden.

Show respect to older people, who can be quite formal.

Swedes are Scandinavian, but they aren't Norwegian or Danes, so don't offened people by lumping them together or confusing them with these other nationalities.

Always be direct and honest. Avoid hyperbole and donot make idle promises or invitations. If a Swede says yes, you can be certain that he means it. He will only say it when he is sure that he can mean it, it avoid unfilled expectations.

EATING AND DRINKING
The smorgasbord originated in Sweden. It is polite to try a little of everything (although if cold herring turns your stomach, no one will be offended if you pass), starting with sill (herring in a variety of sauces), boiled potatoes and sour cream, followed by cold cuts, hot food (often more fish), and then cheese, dessert, and coffee.

At formal dinner parties, the male guest of honor sits to the left of the hostess and the female guest of honor sits to the right of the host. There may even be a seating plan.

To make a toast, say "Skal", then look everyone in the eye, take a drink, and then make eye contact again before putting down the glass. Don't make a toast or start drinking until the host has made a toast.

When shopping for groceries, it is customary to buy what you touch.

If you see a Swede with a small lump under his top lip, he's using Snus, a moist ground tobacco product dating from the late 1700s, which is more popular than smoking.(it's actually regulated as a foodstuff). At a party, cigarette smokers often gather underneath the kitchen fan, since it's better than going outside into the cold.

OUT AND ABOUT
Anywhere in the countryside that isn't fenced off is Allemansrotten, meaning "right for everyone" to walk or camp. However, you must leave the place as you found it and respect the land.

Manhole covers in Sweden are labeled with different letters. The most common is A, which stands for "Avbruten karlek" ("lost love") whereas K stands for "Karlek" ("love"). It's a fun superstition to step on or avoid manhole covers depending on what fortune they bring.

Always remove your shoes before entering a Swedish home.

It is illegal to spank children. Consequently Swede's are very skilled at disciplining their children using reasoning and understanding. They don't just obey the law, they firmly believe that spankign is wrong.

DRESS
Swedes dress well and fashionably without being ostentatious, although business dress is often quite relaxed. Clothes are not used to demonstrate status or wealth. Everyone dresses well but more or less the same, in keeping with the egalitarian ethics of the culture.

GIFTS AND TIPS
It is customary to bring a small gift when you are visiting someone's home. Alcohol is very expensive, so a vintage whiskey or other spiriti is always welcome.


6.) FINLAND

MEETING AND GREETING
Punctuality is very important,especially in business. Arrive on time to social events.

Greet with a brief, firm handshake with direct eye contact and say your name. If you are introduce to a group of people, your host will usually make a public introduction so you won't have to shake everyone's hand. it is normal to shake hands with children.

Don't compicate the handshake by gripping the other person's elbow or touching his upper arm; it will make the person feel uncomfortable. Finns rarely embrace or jis cheeks,a nd if so, only with close friends and family. When introduce to a married couple, greet the wife first. At a formal occasion the person who received the invitation should greet the host first.

Donot use first names until specifically invited to do so. This is indicated when an older person shakes hands with a younger person and both parties say their first names and nod briefly while maintaining eye contact. From then on first names should always be used.

There is no special way to exchange business cards. Simply hand them over and put them in your pocket.

CONVERSATION
Finns will often ask you what you think of the country, so do some homework and bone up on Finnish culture. Finns have a strong national indentity and will feel slighted if you have no knwoledge of Finnish achievements (despite the fact they they themselves may be quite insular regarding other cultures).

Small talk is not important and is not often used. Finns attach great importance to language and choosing words carefully, making silence preference to empty chatter. It isn't necessary to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Finns speak unhurriedly and with much pausing. If someone is taking the biggest contribution you can make is to listen, don't interrupt. Always wait until the other person sits for five minutes without saying a word. However, in general, the younger generation is far less reserved than their elders.

Talking to strangers in the street or on public transportation is unusual, although if you ask for direction you will usually find Finns to be very helfpful.

Directness and hoensty are important, so you should only extend invitations or make offers that you intend to follow through. Comments such as "We must do this again sometime" will be taken literally.

EATING AND DRINKING
Finns prefer to entertain at home rather than meet in restaurant. At a dinner party, the guest of honor sits to the right of the hostess and is expected to make a short speech of thanks on behalf of the other guests when the dessert wine or dessert has been served.

When a meal includes many courses, start with the cutlery on the outside and work your way in. Keep your knife and fork in your right and left hands, respectively, at all times; don't put your knife down to eat with your fork in the United states style. Don't start drinking the wine until the host has made a toast.

It is forbidden to smoke in public building and workplaces. Always permission in a private home; in a restaurant you should ask those around you whetehr they mind.

OUT AND ABOUT
Although Finns arent' big talkers, cell phine use in Findlkand is greater than ij most other places in the world. (Nokia is a Finnish company not, as many believe, Japanese). However, they are used with considered discretion and respect for others. In public building you should always set your phone to vibrate. If your phone rings when you are at a theatre, a restaurant, the library, or even a sports stadium, you may be asked to leave.

Finnish sauna is a way of life, and even everyone has one at least once a week. The ration of people to saunas in this country is about two to one. You will definitely be invited to share the experience during yoru visit-no clothes allowed, although men and women sauna separately (except couples). Be prepared to whisk each other with vihta (birch twigs).

DRESS
Dress conservatively in good quality, stylish clothes. Take your shoes off when entering a home.

GIFTS AND TIPS
Tipping is not customary, due to the pragmatic belief that one should expect to receive good service anyway, without having to reward it by paying extra. However, a tip is always appreciated. You can either roung up the bill or pay an extra 10percent.

If you are invited to someone's house, a small gift such as flowers or wine will be appreciated.


7.) GERMANY

MEETING AND GREETING
Punctuality is important, although arriving up to 10minutes late is acceptable.

Exchange a firm handshake with everyone in the group upon arrival and departure. Hugging and kissing on both cheeks is common only among good friends and family members.

Eye contact during the introduction is serious, direct and should be maintained as long as the person is addressing you.

If a German stranger holds your eye contact, it does not mean that he will acknowledge you, because he does not expect anything form you. Because he does'nt know you, it is logical to expect him to nod or smile, even politely.

CONVERSATION
Small talk is not an imprtant part of German interacton. They are more direct and say what they want, rather than wasting time with mere pleasantries.

Mingling is another rarity. Germans go to parties to mix with friends rather than to meet new people, so don't expect to be able to socialize with everyone in the room. Most likely the party will break up into close knit groups, which can make a stranger feel excluded.

If a German asks, "How are you?" it is not a rhetorical question (as it is in the U.S. for example) Germans traditionally use "Wie geht es lhnen" as a literal question that expect a literal answer.

Germans tend to receive compliments with slight suspicion, especiually from anyone who is not close friend.

EATING AND DRINKING
If you are formally invited out to dinner, then your host will expect to pay, and he or she won't even expect you to make a show of politely offering. You should definitely not fight for the bill! Howefer, if you haven't been specifically invited, then you should accept to receive a separate bill and pay your own way.

Be patient when ordering a German beer. In some regions it can take 10minutes to pour.

Don't expect your host to serve you. If you want more wine, for example, it is acceptable to pour it yourself-unless you are at a small dinner party. Plates of food may be passed around the table, and such person should take what he or she wants, rathe than sampling a little of everything for the sake of politeness.

Refusing food is okay. Germans are direct communicators and will expect youi to be honest and direct.

In a busy restaurant, you may find yourself sharing a table with strangers, but don't have to socialize with them during the meal, as might be the case with more relationship oriented cultures.

When toasting, say "Zum Wohl!" withe wine and "Prost!" with beer (both equivalents of "Cheers"). Maintain eye contact until you have placed the glass back on the table. In a group make eye contact with everyone indivually.

OUT AND ABOUT
Always say hello when you enter shops, especially small ones.

Get used to recycling everything even tea bags. Most public goes in the yellow trash (Gelbe Tonne);paper and cardboard go int eh blue trash (Blaue Tonne or Papiermulf); gl;ass is often separated into colors, e.g. green bottkes (Grunglas) and white bottles (Weissglas) Biodegradable kitchen waste goes in the green trash (Biotonne), and anything else is gray (Restmull).

Despite that Germany is very regulated and law-abiding society, lining up and waiting their turn is not one of many Germans strong points. It's first noticed, first served, like in a bar.

Germany is atime-dominated culture, so when it is your turn, keep your transaction efficient. For instance, at a suopermarket checkout, if you don't get your groceries into your bags and move away quickly for the next person, you may get some disapproving looks.

DRESS
Germans dress quite conservatively, in muted colors, both in business and socially. Even a simple trip to the grocery store or the mall requires a tidier appearance than sweatpants and T-shirt.

GIFTS AND TIPS
Don't bother with gifts of beer, since the Germans are the beermeisters of the world, however, a good imported spirit or a quality wine is appreciated.

Don't give clothing, perfume, and other toilletries as gifts, these are considered too personal.



(Source: Abstracted from the book:BEHAVE YOURSELF: The Essential Guide to International Etiquette by: Michael Powell)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:00 PM  
1 Comments:
  • At 6:34 AM, Blogger Sidney said…

    Interesting read about Belgium.
    You can imagine the culture shock with the Philippines... ;-)

     
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