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7 Etiquette please!

This section aims to show you how crucial it is to have an understanding of different etiquettes when meeting someone from another culture. The activities will also provide an opportunity to research etiquette around the world.

Activity 27 What is etiquette?

Timing: You should allow 10 minutes

Make some notes on how you would define etiquette, and why you think it should be important.

Look at the checklist below. In what areas should you observe an appropriate etiquette?

⃞ Greetings⃞ Business cards
⃞ Dining⃞ Punctuality
⃞ Gender difference⃞ Queuing
⃞ Age difference⃞ Humour
⃞ Gifts⃞ Dress code


All of the options should have been ticked, depending on individual cultures. For instance, some cultures might value gift-giving more than others.

Activity 28 British etiquette

Timing: You should allow 15 minutes

The document below contains a BBC news article. Read through it and think about whether you were aware of all the differences mentioned.

View document. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Can you think of any examples of customs in the UK where etiquette is essential, and that you would find offensive if not respected? You may want to discuss your views using the Comments section below.

Activity 29 Quiz

  1. In the Middle East, what should you avoid when dining?

    • a.Using your left hand

    • b.Finishing all the food on your plate

    • c.Making a mess

  2. In France, after each course, you should wipe your plate with a piece of bread.

    • a.True

    • b.False

  3. People of the same sex walking hand-in-hand is a criminal offence in China

    • a.True

    • b.False

  4. In Turkey, a flick of the head upwards means:

    • a.Yes

    • b.No

    • c.Go away

  5. In Japan, before accepting a gift it is polite to refuse at least once or twice before accepting.

    • a.True

    • b.False



  1. (a) Using your left hand

  2. (a) True

  3. (b) False. It is actually seen as a gesture of friendship

  4. (b) No

  5. (a) True

Activity 30 Cross-cultural differences

Timing: You should allow 60 minutes

Choose a country that you are familiar with and write down the cultural differences it has with the UK. Concentrate on differences in dining, greetings, gifts, business cards and customs. Present your findings in the form of a ‘dos and don'ts’ poster.

Use the internet to research the different cultural differences. You may find the following sites helpful:


Here are some customs that you may have included.

  • In China, it is considered bad luck to drop your chopsticks.

  • In Saudi Arabia, gifts should only be given to the most intimate of friends.

  • Bananas are eaten with a knife and fork in Bolivia.

  • In Hong Kong, if you are given a business card and don't offer one in return, you can close up business immediately.

  • In Greece, it is considered acceptable to arrive 30 minutes late at a dinner party.

  • In Sudan, people invite guests to lie down and rest when they arrive at their house.

  • In Germany, you should use a person's title and their surname until invited to use their first name.

  • In Brazil, gifts are opened when received, unlike in Japan.

  • You should remove your shoes if you are invited at a Moroccan house.

  • You shouldn't stand with your hands on your hips in Vietnam.