We tend to think that certain forms of nonverbal communication are universal, such as waving to greet someone and pointing to indicate direction. While the ultimate goals of nonverbal communication tend to be the same, the subtle intricacies that make the gestures, such as pointing with one finger as opposed to your whole hand, differ from culture to culture. This is important to remember, as this can be the difference between helping someone finding their way and offending them. You might think that smiling is a gesture that crosses national boundaries and cultures, but you would be unfortunately mistaken.
Smiles Are Kind of Confusing
In the United States, we know that smiling is a signal to others that you are happy. This holds true in most if not all Western cultures. However, in Eastern cultures, smiling can signal more than simply joy, and can carry even negative connotations such as submission and even buffoonery. Interestingly, flight attendants in China practice perfect smiles using chopsticks. This is likely due to the fact that they must interact with westerners during flights. Russians, who are typically viewed as cold and severe were also practicing up on their smiley hospitality in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
But It’s Good for Business!
While not all cultures view smiling in quite the same way, it is important to remember that in Western countries it is considered good etiquette to greet customers and business partners alike with a warm smile. This can make or break a pleasant experience for a customer. Additionally, a great smile can also help you land a job if you are up against equally qualified applicants.
Here in the US, a smile is universally considered an important professional and personal asset. If you find that your smile could use a little work, consider visiting a cosmetic dentist to see if porcelain veneers, dental implants, or other cosmetic procedures can help you get your million dollar smile back. If you have had work done in the past, replacing as opposed to simply restoring old veneers may be the way to go. Dr. Mark Dunayer at B&D Dental Excellence can help you decide which procedure is right for your needs. If you live in the West Nyack area and have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with a Rockland County dentist, please give us a call at (845) 627-7645.