1. Flag-BoxThe two A-OK gestures (a circle of the index finger and thumb, or a thumbs-up) that are so popular in the United States are extremely rude in many parts of the world. Pick the country where one or both of these well-meaning A-OK gestures are obscene.
    A. Brazil
    B. Australia
    C. Spain
    D. Middle Eastern countries
    E. All of the above
  2. True or false: Asians may show disagreement by squinting and sucking air through their teeth.
  3. Never demonstrate how big — or small — anything is in Latin America by measuring the space between your two extended index fingers. There is only one part of the male anatomy to which that gesture refers. The correct way to illustrate length in Latin American countries is:
    A. Hold one hand at the appropriate height from the floor.
    B. Extend your right arm, and measure from your fingertips to the correct distance up your arm with your left hand.
    C. Whip out a measuring tape or slide rule.
  4. True or false: In Chile, slapping your right fist into your left palm is obscene, and an open palm with the fingers separated means “stupid.”
  5. US executives are generally comfortable standing with about two feet of space between them. True or false: The normal speaking distance in much of Latin America is less than one foot.
  6. You are late for your appointment with your new German boss, then you call him by his first name and move your chair closer to his desk. Which of the following might placate him?
    A. Ask him about his family.
    B. Slouch.
    C. Stick your hands in your pockets.
    D. Apologize for being late and get right down to business.
  7. True or false: In Japan, tapping one’s finger repeatedly on the table signifies agreement and support of a speaker’s statement.
  8. People from different cultures point with various parts of their bodies: their chins, thumbs, or palms. True or false: An Englishman will generally indicate something with his head.
  9. A British professor was a guest lecturer at a university in an Islamic country. During his address, he unthinkingly insulted the audience by displaying a part of his body. What did he show the audience that was so offensive?
    A. His teeth
    B. His left hand
    C. The sole of his foot
  10. In Hawaii, a common gesture for greeting is called the “shaka” and is done by:
    A. Shaking two clasped hands in the air
    B. Nodding your head rapidly up and down
    C. Folding down your three middle fingers to the palm, extending your thumb and pinkie, holding out your hand and shaking it

Answers

  1. E. We should all have a nickel for how many times a US president or vice-president has inadvertently insulted foreign dignitaries by cheerily waving from Air Force One, and then giving a hearty A-OK or thumbs-up sign.
  2. True. Many Asians find it difficult to actually say the word no, and instead more comfortably indicate their displeasure or disagreement with a gesture.
  3. B.
  4. True.
  5. True. In Brazil, many executives will stand approximately six inches away from each other when speaking.
  6. D. If you are thoroughly prepared and sit ramrod straight in your chair without moving until he dismisses you, you may leave with your job intact.
  7. True. This type of “mini-applause” was reportedly started in one of the courts of a Japanese emperor.
  8. True. A proper Brit would never point at anything with a digit.
  9. C. The professor’s failure to respect Muslim decorum resulted in a student protest and newspaper headlines denouncing British arrogance.
  10. C. The “shaka,” while not easy for “mainlanders” to do at first, is so popular that it became a trademark of a former Hawaii governor.