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Hand gestures…are they really necessary?

by E

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March 15th, 2011

Ok, so I’m totally guilty of using my hands when I talk. Even on the phone, I am guilty. I may not use gestures to indicate certain feelings or emotions that someone may provoke, nonetheless, I still catch myself on occasion moving my hands as if the person on the other side of the phone can see where I am pointing (this happens a lot when I’m directing someone to a certain location). However, if traveling to another country I would be extremely cautious of using my hands during conversation. There are many gestures that can be offensive to other cultures. Since I’m not all-knowing in hand gesture translation, I think it best to keep my hands right by my side until I can get a feel for the native’s gestures and what may be appropriate. I haven’t had any experience with using hand gestures in other countries, but knowing my luck, I would innocently express positive feeling and end up seriously offending someone.

Anyone out there had an experience where you accidentally offended someone with a hand gesture that did not ‘translate’ in another country? I’d love to hear your story!

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