Gestures - the Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World

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  • Topic: Gesture, Gestures, Hand
  • Pages : 5 (2245 words )
  • Download(s) : 553
  • Published : October 8, 1999
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Axtell, Roger E. Gestures: The DO's and TABOOS of Body Language Around the World. Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1998 -- Rev. and expanded edition.Over the past decade the author has been presenting seminars, speeches and workshops around the United States on the subject of international behavior. This book is the result of accumulation of more than ten years of research on the subject and it includes research on his travels to England, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. All this reinforced a conviction that gestures are powerful communicators used by people all over the world.The purpose of this book is to let people know how powerful gestures can be when used correctly or incorrectly. He also wants you to know how a gesture can mean one thing here and another thing somewhere else, something as simple as a wave good bye, could get you into a lot of trouble in another country. This book was broken down into seven chapters: Chapter 1, illustrated with numerous examples, is that not only are gestures and body language powerful communicators, but different cultures use gestures and body language in dramatically different ways.Chapter 2 discusses the most popular gestures found around the world, beginning with how we greet each other. Shaking hand is not the universal greeting. In fact, there are at least a half-dozen other social greetings - even different ways of shaking hands. This chapter also deals with farewells, beckoning, insulting, touching and other types of gestures.Chapter 3 gets into the special types of gestures such as, American Sign Language, Tai Chi, flirting & kissing.Chapter 4 is designed to help you learn or trace a particular gesture, using scores of drawings. Chapter 5 describes what the author calls the ultimate gesture, which is simply the "smile". It is rarely misunderstood, scientist believe this particular gesture releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins into the system that create a mild feeling of euphoria. It also may help you slip out of the prickliest or difficult situation's world wide.Chapter 6 is an important list of gestures to keep in mind. It is compiled of 20 gestures that can help you separate right from rude, and rude from crude. Chapter 7 is a listing of country-by-country common gestures and body languages. They group the countries by major geographic region.The organization of the book was a combination of narrative and topical. The basic point of view of the entire book was that if you are planning to leave the United States and travel to another country, you better either keep your hands in you pockets at all times or know the proper gesture for the country you intend on visiting. I would like to site some examples.An American teenager was hitchhiking in Nigeria. A carload of locals passed him. The car screeched to a halt. The locals jumped out and promptly roughed up the teenage visitor. Why? Because in Nigeria, the gesture commonly used in America for hitchhiking (thumb extended upward) is considered a very rude signal.An American couple on an auto tour in Australia was stopped by a police officer in Sydney for failing to signal before turning. Since they were tourists the officer gave them only a friendly warning. Relieved, the American man responded with a smile and the thumbs-up sign. The police officer became enraged, ordered the couple out of the car, called a backup, searched the car, and finally gave the driver an expensive ticket. Later, back in their hotel and recounting their experience, the tourist learned that in Australia the thumbs-up gesture means "screw you!"As you can see this book has a humorous, but yet serious overtone. It covers important aspects of body languages & gestures in society which is serious stuff, that has a very strong impact on all that come in contact with you. Yet the author is able to express it in a...
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