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The Nonverbal Advantage by Carol Kinsey Goman

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CHAPTER 9Translating Body Language across Cultures

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CULTURE, we’re generally talking about a set of shared values that a group of people hold. Such values affect how members of that group think and act and, more importantly, the kind of criteria by which they judge others. Cultural meanings render some behaviors as “normal” and “right” and others as “strange” or “wrong.” From greeting behaviors to hand gestures to the use of space and touch, what’s proper and correct in one culture may be ineffective—or even offensive—in another.

Few of us are aware of our own cultural biases because cultural imprinting begins at a very early age. And though some of a culture’s values are taught explicitly, most are absorbed subconsciously. ...

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