Gestures Around the World

Topics: Gesture, Gestures, United States Pages: 4 (1245 words) Published: November 4, 2012
Gestures Around the World

General Purpose: To inform
Specific Purpose Statement: To inform my audience of the different meanings of specific gestures in certain countries or cultures.

Central Idea: The thumbs up, v sign, and other gestures common in western culture may be offensive or not depending on where they are used.

Method of Organization: Topical
Imagine 20 years from now and you have finally achieved your childhood goal of becoming President of the United States. During your time in office you travel all over the world and meet many other world leaders. So one time you travel to Iran to meet with the Iranian President. While eating at a high class restaurant with him a waitress asks how your food is and you reply with a quick thumbs up since your mouth is full and wouldn’t want it to seem rude. The waitress becomes appalled, paparazzi catch this moment on camera, it is circulated around the world, and riots begin all across Iran. Why, you may ask. A simple thumbs up could be the cause of an international incident if used in a country where its meaning is different.

According to the social anthropologist Edward Hall in the book Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World, about 60% of communication is nonverbal. Hall also says that many of the gestures Americans use daily to convey quick messages or add emphasis to certain statements could be very offensive or have a totally different meaning in another part of the world.

I have always wondered what American gestures meant other places and now after doing extensive research for this speech have found that I could travel the world and use gestures appropriately and not offend anyone.

Today we will explore the meanings of common gestures such as the thumbs up, “V” sign, and a couple of less commonly used gestures around the world and what they mean to the people who use them. (Transition: As I previously stated we will begin by discussing the...
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