If you spend time traveling or do business in more than one country then this chapter will prove invaluable. Not all body language happens the same way all over the world. To some this revelation gives them ammunition against body language because they say that since it is not totally universal, it is not innate and therefore not predictive, however this is not so. While some body language crosses culture, other language does not, what is important though, it to know which is which. We will spend the following chapter looking at how body language varies from region to region and hence from culture to culture and you will see that some body language is learned while some innate or genetic.
As we progress we will look at how emblems, illustrators, affect displays, adaptors and regulators add colour to our language and as how to use them. We will also discuss how these facets of body language vary across regions. The two take-away messages from this chapter is that it is the sender that determines the accuracy of the message no matter what the culture, and that it is up to you to decide what it means, and that it is the culture in which we find ourselves which dictates what’s normal. In this context, normal is what tells us how we should comport ourselves. We will see that our innate body language dictates our culture, that some gestures are universal (and some are not) and that touching preferences and desire (or tolerance) to closeness is learned. Finally we will cover the ways in which cultures meet and greet one-another.