Navigating Nonverbal Communication in Different Cultures


  1. Familiarize yourself with the culture.
    Before attempting to interpret a gesture, it is important to be aware of the cultural context in which it is used.
  2. Be aware of the different meanings of gestures.
    Different gestures can have different meanings in different cultures. For example, the thumb-up gesture has three meanings in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but in some countries, such as Greece, its main meaning is ‘get stuffed’.
  3. Follow the rule ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’.
    This rule can help you avoid any potential embarrassing situations.
  4. Be aware of the power and superiority signals.
    The thumb is also used, in combination with other gestures, as a power and superiority signal or in situations where people try to get us ‘under their thumb’.
  5. Be aware of the V sign.
    The V sign is popular throughout Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain and carries an ‘up yours’ interpretation. In most parts of Europe, however, the palm facing in version still means ‘victory’.


No insights yet

Take action!

Our mobile app, Mentorist, will guide you on how to acquire this skill.
If you have the app installed