Whoops! Cultural Faux Pas

Even with specialized CIPS training, it's easy to make mistakes. Here are several members' experiences.

"A Pakistani doctor was very charming and always shook my hand before and after our meetings. But after showing homes to his family, he avoided me. I couldn't figure out what I'd said or done, until I remembered touching a dog at one of the homes. Naturally, I hadn't had a chance to wash my hands."

"I've learned the hard way that shaking hands with clients from some cultures can be awkward, so I just smile and give a little wave. . .unless they offer their hand first."

"I took Japanese clients (an elderly husband and wife) to an Izakaya, which is a bar, thinking it was a regular restaurant."

"In terms of gifts, I didn't know my Chinese clients would frown upon knives or white wrapping paper. I gave them a Cutco knife wrapped in white. Luckily they still speak to me."

"I invited my Muslim clients to lunch, but didn't realize it was Ramadan and they were fasting. They were too polite to say anything so I ate lunch with the children, but the parents didn't eat or drink anything."

Find tips on cultural business practices at The Global View blog.

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About Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives in Real Estate is a resource for global professionals, aimed at helping them globalize their local markets. Produced bi-monthly, this newsletter serves as a how-to guide and is full of useful and actionable tips. A free subscription is given to all Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) designees.

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