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Table Etiquette – The Far East

Having a meal together is a good way to start talking about business. If you’re interested in the Far East, you have to take into account the higher degree of formality that exist, when compared to the West. Make sure you learn the table etiquette of Eastern cultures, to avoid embarrassing situations. Here you can find some tips:


  • Chinese often pick up their bowls and use their chopsticks to scoop the rice into their mouths.
  • As a general rule in China, you should always decline something given to you at least two or three times before accepting it.
  • Soups are usually eaten last.


  • Chopsticks are used to pick up food from shared dishes. Koreans actually use a long silver spoon to eat their rice.
  • They will only eat after the most senior person has started eating the meal.
  • Koreans don’t pick up their bowls when eating their rice.


  • When the food is served, join your hands in the “Namaste” gesture and say quietly, “Itadakimasu” – the phrase literally translates as “I humbly receive.”
  • Do not pass the food at the table from a set of chopsticks to another set of chopsticks – it’s a very offensive gesture because when a Japanese family is sifting through the ashes after a cremation, they handle the bones of the deceased in a similar fashion.
  • Never plant your chopsticks in a bowl of rice. Instead, lay your chopsticks on the chopstick holder or at the edge of your individual plate.
By | April 11th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

8 Reasons Why Personality Matters in Business

Why will businesses will pay more attention to personality in the future? This is the question Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic asks himself in an article published by Psychology Today. Below are 8 out of 20 of the reasons that were sighted in the article.

  • Employee engagement is influenced by personality and, if you want engaged employees, happy people are the best to hire
  • Top jobs will become even more complex and will therefore require constant learning: notably having a hungry mind depends on personality
  • Team-work will become even more important and compatible personalities create synergy, incompatible ones create problems
  • Top jobs will require employees to cope with very high levels of pressure; it’s personality which affects employees' ability to cope with it
  • The success of big businesses will be even more connected to their brand reputation, which means the way consumers perceive the business brand is influenced by human-like features
  • The best way to increase employee engagement is by hiring bosses with the right personality - in the US and the UK, over 60 percent of employees are unhappy with their managers
  • Employers will be able to profile job applicants by simply looking at their social media profiles, where they can find important information about a candidate’s personality and values
  • More and more people are considering self-employment or starting their own business (instead of working for someone else): this is especially true when their boss is a not nice, which depends on his or her personality.
By | April 10th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

What are the Best Languages for Micro-Blogging?

Chinese and informal English. These are the answers given in an article recently issued by The Economist. Why? Chinese is so concise that most messages never reach the micro-blogs’ limit of 140 symbols. Besides, even if Twitter is blocked in China, the local variant Sina Weibo has over 250m users. Informal English allows personal pronouns to be dropped, has no fiddly accents and enjoys a well-developed culture of abbreviations.

Japanese is concise too, and fans of haiku can tweet them with ease. Korean people often omit syllables, and Arabic messages leave out vowels to keep the tweets short. Romance languages tend to be more spun out. Spanish and Portuguese, the two most frequent European languages used on Twitter after English, use a lot of abbreviations to keep the length down. Portuguese speakers use abs for abraços (hugs) and bjs for beijos (kisses); in Spanish personal pronouns are always omitted.

Kevin Scannell, a professor at St Louis University, Missouri has set up a website to track the languages used on Twitter, which have been estimated to be 500. Twitter is in fact also helping minority languages to stay alive. For example, Basque and Gaelic speakers tweet to keep in touch with other speakers all over the world. Another interesting example is Gamilaraay, an indigenous Australian language with only three living speakers, which nevertheless is on Twitter because one of them is tweeting!

By | April 10th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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