The Art to say Hello

„Good Day“, „Buenos días“, „Guten Tag“, „你好(Nǐhǎo)”, „Bonjour“, „Buongiorno“, „Bom dia“, „До́брый день“, „こんにちは(Konnichiwa)“, „안녕하세요 (Ann-nyeong-ha-se-yo)“, „Aloha“, „Namaste“, „Nomoskar“, „السلام عليكم (Salam aleikum)“!

Welcome to Hawaii PolynesiaI’m sorry for you if I missed to learn the word to say hello in your native language but I used the 12 most common native languages (plus italian and hawaiian) and I only can say hello to 48% of the Worlds’ population in their native language.

It is difficult to address a welcome to everyone but for some people it’s even difficult to welcome their colleagues. Yes – I had one boss (fortunately the others’ knew how to greet) who was not able to greet his employees and he missed a chance to make a good impression and create motivation with a friendly behaviour. With a reasonable address of welcome you will be kept in the mind of your conversational partner. Take your chance to stay in mind.

Concerning international meetings it’s even easier to impress. You just have to implement the following points in your greeting process.

  • Greet the host in his/her native language! (use the right pronunciation)
  • Look what gestures the host uses to welcome you and adapt to them.
  • Do the leave-taking in the hosts’ native language!
  • But it’s also more likely to make a fatal error. So please put some effort in answering the following questions to avoid dropping a clanger.

  • Who is your business partner? (Religion, Origin, Native Language, etc.)
  • What are important phrases in his/her native language?
  • What are typical gestures for the greeting in this culture?
  • Be aware that e.g. a meeting with a Japanese Company is not certainly meaning that your conversational partner is a Japanese. So use the variety of sources – Social Networks, your network, local newspapers – to get to know him/her better.

    Moreover learn some essential phrases of the hosts’ native language so you have the element of surprise on your side. But be careful with the pronunciation and don’t put the emphasis on the wrong letter. [e.g. Nǐhǎo = Hello; niào = to pee; niǎo = the bird]

    Of course in different cultures there are always different welcoming gestures and you should not be surprised if e.g. an older Russian business partner is hugging you and giving you kisses. Always let the host start with those gestures. Furthermore don’t be fooled by your research sources. I’ve read in one book that Germans will greet you in leather trousers. Don’t take such things too serious and please don’t wear some for your meeting! To find a good source always look if your country/culture is described correctly.

    „Goodbye“, „Adíos“, „Auf Wiedersehen“, „再见 (Zàijiàn)“, „Salut“, „Ciao“, „Adeus“, „Пока́“, „さようなら (Sayounara)“, „또 만나요 (Too man-na-yo)“, „Aloha“, „Alavidha“, „Accha – Aashi“, „مع السلامة (maʿa s-salamah)“

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    4 thoughts on “The Art to say Hello

    1. I am German by birth – and NO we do not wear lederhosen! I doubt you will see those even much now in the very south of Germany, unless at cultural events. Now I live in the South of India and although everybody understands ‘namaste’, but we say ‘namaskaram’ in this part of the world.
      And yes I agree with you, just a few well chosen words, pronounced correctly, will bring a nice smile on peoples faces and helps often to break the social barriers. Ciao Carina

      • Hi Carina,

        thanks for the advice with the word “namaskaram”. And concerning the leather trousers I was really surprised during I read this especially because it was published by a very famous publisher for languages and intercultural communication.

        Best wishes from Sydney,
        Marcus

    2. When I was in AMDOCS and posted in Cyprus, I was given additional responsibility for being the Editor for our monthly magazine. We had many nationals working in our company and we were getting more people from all the low cost countries – so India, Vietnam, Eastern European countries, etc.

      So, I started a section in the magazine where we would present 7 commonly used statements or sentences in regular conversation in the different languages used by the people of our company. This section was a huge hit among the staff and also it was very good for the magazine as I had half the page covered every month without too much effort.

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