Attraction-Sparking Conversation Tips

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More often than not, we get to know other individuals through the people we already know. It is always the job of the common acquaintance to introduce the two persons who are still strangers to each other.  A simple but important problem arises in introducing people: Who should you introduce first?

Hierarchy and seniority is often observed in society as seniors and superiors are said to be wiser and more knowledgeable due to their longer experiences. People encounter new people every day. In proper introductions of people, hierarchy is done as a sign of respect.

Humans, as social beings, inevitably get the chance to talk to various types of people. Most of the time, these opportunities come from gatherings such as parties and events. Where there are social gatherings, conversations are bound to occur. So, how to make a good conversation?

Below are some conversation tips you may consider.

Great conversations come from topics that are interesting.  The proper topic varies for different groups of people and the event that brought them together. To become good conversationalist means to know what topics would be proper for a particular situation.

Most of the time topics that usually spark interest are those under:

  • Sports that are known worldwide
  • Local or international news and current events
  • Best-selling books of different genres
  • A compliment about the event, such as food, venue, or ambience, they are currently in

In almost every conversation, avoid asking personal questions especially the controversial ones like heartaches, broken engagements, and the like. It is also best to avoid these very sensitive topics:

  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Race
  • Money

These are the topics that might offend other people even if done as a joke. It is also not good to use inappropriate languages, such as curse words and words with sexual innuendos.  A good conversationalist also knows how to avoid improper etiquette in any type of conversations.

Then, how to be a good conversationalist?

A good conversationalist is basically someone who is well versed in sparking the interest of a person or group of people.  If you want to be a good conversationalist you must possess these abilities:

  • They know how to give and receive compliments.
  • They immediately know the topics a particular group is interested in.
  • They know a lot of topics and are able to appear as if they know so much about a topic that they know little about.
  • They never act rude by correcting another person’s vocabulary or grammar.
  • They talk to everyone that is part of the conversation.
  • They have great sense of humor.

They feel when people are already uninterested with what they are saying.

Practicing French Table Manners in the Business World

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Just as it’s essential to familiarize yourself with French business etiquette, it’s equally important to understand French table manners, before you visit. Especially when you’re dining within the French business culture.

The French have a distinct set of table manners, and you want to know them beforehand if you expect to express your respect and display a professional attitude while eating in the local restaurants with your colleagues. The last thing you want to do when trying to impress a new client or win over your manager is to come off uneducated, impolite, or disrespectful to the local culture.

For the record, French culture is highly regarded for its fine cuisine, and the dining experience in France is an art itself. Much respect and attention should be paid to the restaurant experience, and it will be expected amongst your French business acquaintances.

Wait to be Seated

If you are dining with a particular host or if someone invited you to a meal, wait to be directed where to sit. Do not place your napkin on your lap immediately after sitting, but instead wait for your hostess or the partner who invited you to the meal to place the napkin on their lap first. If you are in someone’s home, typical French dinning manners hold that you should wait until the lady of the house places her napkin on her lap before you place your napkin on yours.

Listen for the “Bon Appétit”

Whether you’re dining at a colleague’s home or at a local restaurant, wait for the host or the waiter to say, “Bon appétit.” This means, “Enjoy your meal,” and it is an invitation to begin eating.

Drink After the Toast

If you are served drinks, wait to see if the host will say a short toast. In France, it is common for the host—whether dining in public or private—to give a short toast before beginning the meal. Do not take a sip of your drink until after the toast and glass clinking has been done.

Keep Your Hands on the Table

Unlike many dining customs in the Unites States, French table manners dictate that you should keep your hands out of your lap and instead on the table during the meal. Ideally, you should rest them gently on the edge of the table as you eat so they are visible.

Do Not Marry the Salt and Pepper

The passing of the salt and pepper is another distinction of French table manners. If someone asks you to pass the salt, you should only pass them the salt. Do not pass both the salt and pepper unless you are specifically asked to pass both. This may be a small gesture, but it is a common practice of French table manners.

Doing Business in Japan: Japanese Business Culture. Part 2

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Keep in mind that the team and the company supersedes the individual. Don’t, for example, ask, “What do you think about our proposal?” What the individual thinks is less relevant. Instead, ask them, “What does your company think about our proposal?” Keep in mind too, that the response will always be polite, and Japanese will never say “no” directly. Anything other than a solid “yes” should be taken as ambiguous. And to make it even more confusing, the Japanese word for yes, “hai”, is often used just to indicate that somebody is listening, and not literal agreement.

Food and Restaurants

As is the case in much of Asia, relationships are formed around food. You may be taken to a restaurant, or if you’re lucky, even to a person’s home. Learn to use chopsticks. You may have seen people in some of the less expensive restaurants grab a pair of chopsticks and rub them together before eating, but don’t copy this behavior. That is done simply to remove any splinters from the sticks, and doing so indicates that the chopsticks may be substandard. Done in a high-end restaurant or in somebody’s home, it would be an insult. A few pointers on eating Japanese food—avoid eating with the mouth open—with the exception of eating noodles, which often involves “slurping”.

At the restaurant, be prepared to sit on the floor if you are going to one of the more traditional restaurants. Women should dress appropriately, and avoid short skirts. High heels should also be avoided—you don’t want to stand taller than your counterparts. And when the bill comes, don’t be quick to grab the bill or offer to split the cost—the host will always pay. If you do the inviting, then you pay.

A word about feet and hands

In Japan, paying attention to what you do with your feet is of utmost importance. Always remove your shoes when you go into somebody’s home, a temple, or a restaurant. You may even find some shops or offices have a no-shoe policy, just follow the lead of your host. And pay attention to how you cross your legs when you are seated. Showing the bottom of your shoes is rude—so either cross your legs at the knees with your feet hanging downward, or just keep your feet flat on the floor.

Hands too, have certain rules. If you want to point out something, do not point with your fingers. And here’s another area that trips up many Westerners who like to talk with their hands—you will need to avoid this practice, as dramatic gestures are distracting, and may be misinterpreted by your counterpart.

Everything You Need To Know Adout Cubicle Etiquette

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Always remember that Office cubicle etiquette starts with privacy. Even though workplaces have large areas known as open cubicle farms, always treat each cubicle as a private office.

When you want to enter a coworker’s cubicle always make sure they are aware that you want to come in. Even if there is no door give a little knock on the wall and wait for them to give you permission.

Careful not to interrupt

Never barge in and sneak up on a fellow worker while they are in their private cubicle. You never know if they are in deep thought on an important assignment. Or they were just day dreaming of their Florida vacation the following week. Either way never interrupt.

Converse face to face

Avoid talking and yelling across cubicles. Remember that you have your coworkers who are working hard, or may even be on the phone with a customer. That is bad cubicle etiquette, and will surely send your fellow coworkers to cubicle hell. Which in turn so will you. Instead show your manners and walk around to the other person’s cubicle that you want to speak to. Everyone will appreciate that.

Telephone

When on the telephone, be aware of how loud you are talking. If you were having a private conversation while speaking in a loud volume, you better believe that your private conversation has turned into a public conversation for everybody. Your personal business became their business.

Never use the speakerphone in your cubicle. For a cubicle office space that is just bizarre. Turn off all cell phone ringers and put it on vibrate or silent. When you leave your cubicle, remember to turn off your phone ringer.

Music

If you work well while listening to music, play your radio at a low volume where only you can hear. Or you may choose to use a headset. Your neighbors might work better with peace and quiet. Or they simply do not like the music you listen to. You probably like listening to hip hop and they might like country. That is a recipe for bad cubicle etiquette.

Sound Effects

Turn off all the sound effects you have on your computer such as your messenger, screen-saver, and games. Nobody cares to hear when you have a winning hand at Texas hold em

Food scents

When it comes to food it is best that you leave your smelly onions and garlic soaked foods in the break room. Workers have even complained about the smell of pizza, and we know pizza smells good. Chips and snacks that are not smelly are perfectly fine.

Doing Business in Japan: Japanese Business Culture. Part 1

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During your first few weeks of doing business in Japan, you will play golf, eat sushi, sing karaoke, and drink sake. To an American who is used to getting right down to business, this may seem like a waste of time. In reality though, it’s not just about recreation—singing karaoke with your business partners is getting down to business.

No, you won’t talk about the details of your proposal, and you won’t even have much discussion about what your company has to offer. But getting to know one another is the most vital part of doing business in Japan.

Business moves at a much slower pace. It’s all about gaining trust. Before your Japanese associate talks about the details of a proposal, they want to know you on a more personal level.

Humility in marketing

That’s a concept that is quite foreign to westerners. Marketing is all about telling your audience that you’re better, and more to the point, your competition is worse. In Japan, such boastful promotion doesn’t go over well, and your message must be more subtle.

Competing on price

Price is always a factor in any business deal, but in Japan, it’s not always the most important. Relationships are vital. You may have the best price, and maybe even the best product, but if you didn’t go to the sushi bar with your partner, and you turned down the sake in favor of a diet soft drink, the deal may go to your competitor. It’s all about relationships in Japan, and breaking into the “inner circle” will require a lot more than a nice PowerPoint and a competitive price.

Meeting and greeting

Japanese businesspersons are well acquainted with Western customs, and although the handshake is not customary, you may be offered a handshake when you first meet. The handshake tends to be lighter than in the West, and contrary to Western custom, you should not look your counterpart in the eye, lest you seem too aggressive. If your counterpart offers a hand first, then the handshake greeting is appropriate. Otherwise, go with the traditional bow. This is a very type of elegant greeting, and does not involve touching at all. The person with the lowest rank will bow first, and a deeper bow indicates greater respect. Don’t ever address your counterpart by their first name, rather, address them by their last name followed by the suffix “san”. If your name is John Smith, you will be referred to as “Smith-san”.

Important Things To Know About Brazil Business Etiquette

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Attire

In Brazil, executives wear three-piece suits and office administrative employees wear two-piece suits. For women, conservative dress is essential. Wearing the colors of the Brazilian flag, green and yellow, in any combination, is considered to be extremely offensive. You should also be sure that your nails are clean and manicured.

Mannerisms

There are a number of gestures in the Brazilian culture that are also part of Brazilian business etiquette. Understanding these can help you avoid any cultural misunderstandings. In Brazil, making an O.K. hand gesture is considered to be rude. Brazilians may pinch the earlobe in between their thumb and forefinger to express appreciation. They may also flick their fingertips underneath the chin, indicating that they do not know the answer to a question. To invoke good luck, the thumb may be placed between the index finger and middle finger within a fist. This gesture is known as a “fig.”

Etiquette

Appointments in Brazil should be made at least two weeks in advance. You should also be prepared to commit to your business endeavors for a long period of time. There is a large amount of importance placed on building strong, long-lasting relationships. In some regions of Brazil, a certain amount of casualness may be displayed in business endeavors. For this reason, do not be alarmed if your business prospect is late. However, in San Paulo and Rio, this casual behavior is only exhibited in social events. You should never attend a business meeting late in these regions.

During the meeting, allow your host to start communication. Pleasantries are often exchanged before the meeting begins, and starting beforehand will be considered rude. While restaurant entertainment is usually preferred over home entertainment, it does happen from time to time. If it does, it is customary to present the host with flowers and a thank-you note the following day. However, avoid purple flowers as these are used during funerals. Violets are an exception to this rule./p>

A gift is not required during your first business meeting in Brazil. However, it is customary to treat your host to dinner or lunch. Lunch is generally the larger of the two meals in Brazil, but if you are being entertained formally, a large dinner may be presented. Another accompaniment to Brazilian meetings is coffee. Be prepared for immensely strong coffee.

Communicating

In Brazil, handshakes are often frequent and can last for a long period of time. You should exchange handshakes with everyone present. When one woman meets another woman, cheeks are pressed against each other while kissing the air. Topics about Argentina, poverty, the Rain Forest, politics, and religion should be avoided. However, social conversations about family, children, and sports such as soccer are often acceptable. Brazilians also enjoy long and animated discussions. Music is often incorporated into business meetings, and an interruption is perceived as enthusiasm. Friendships, informality, and joking are all often a part of the Brazilian culture. Understanding these cultural norms can help you successfully conduct business internationally. This applies to any culture that is foreign to you. If you plan to conduct business in Brazil, be sure to study Brazil business etiquette.