Articles

No. We don’t do the “quote” gesture

In Czechs, Life, People on January 10, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka

Non-verbal communication is a very interesting thing and if you are not careful enough in some countries, you can offend your business partners, you can make enemies, or you can be put in jail.

In the Czech Republic we do not have culture-specific non-verbal communication elements that are frowned upon or borderline-illegal. There are just things we just don’t do and if someone does, you can tell they spent some time living abroad, especially in the United States.

Of course. I am talking about managers, team leaders, advertising executive who often hold brainstorming meetings. These are situations in which people do this:

Yes, the famous quote-unquote gesture that Americans use to say “so-called”, or “let’s say”. Like in one scene in the sitcom Friends where Ross says something like: This [quote fingers] actor [unquote fingers] is taking her on a date and  Joey replies: Hey, I am an [quote fingers] actor [unquote fingers] too.

In the Czech Republic, according to my experience, people who are exposed to this kind of speeches from their superiors tend to think that their boss is being over-dramatic for purpose, which does not usually work around here. Not even in advertising. The people think that if they mess up there will be no high-five from the boss, so their attitude is largely limited to “tell us what the task is and let’s get the hell out of here so we can go and start working”.

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