03/22/2017 10:47 EDT | Updated 03/22/2017 10:47 EDT

Sticky Situation: How Is Your Cultural Quotient? Take This Quiz

Business travel is on the rise. We are in the era of globalization. You are travelling more and more. Your partners are planetary. Avoid a diplomatic blunder or embarrassment as a company ambassador by taking a moment to validate your cultural quotient.

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Hands holding a globe. Vintage tone effect.

Sticky Situation:

Business travel is on the rise. We are in the era of globalization.

You are travelling more and more. Your partners are planetary.

You know it; when travelling to forge links abroad, you must think globally and act locally.

You are proud to say that you do your best to conform to local customs. You follow St. Ambrose's advice: "When in Rome do as the Romans do. If you are anywhere else, live as one lives there."

Avoid a diplomatic blunder or embarrassment as a company ambassador by taking a moment to validate your cultural quotient.


This five question quiz is based on the top most visited cities of 2016: Bangkok, London, Paris, Dubai and New York. The Global Destination Cities Index is compiled by MasterCard.

Write down the letters to the correct answers only.

1) During a business meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, you avoid:

A. Wearing black.

B. If you are a man; crossing your left ankle over your right knee.

C. Pointing to a statue of Buddha.

D. Silent pauses during a conversation.

2) By way of appreciation and recognition, during your stay in London in the United Kingdom, you:

A. Offer a high-quality pen.

B. Invite your host for High Tea at 16:00.

C. Bring flowers as a hostess gift for your client who has invited you to her home.

D. Pay for round of drinks at the pub and offer a generous tip.

3) Following a first meeting during a networking event organized by the Canadian Embassy in Paris, France, you send an email to a potential client. She is of the same organizational level as you and you think that you are about the same age. You have many similarities in your professional paths. The conversation easily flowed. You:

A. You write "Bonjour ma chère (add his first name), in your email invitation.

B. Invite her to join you for a "5 à 7", meaning cocktail hour.

C. Choose a café close to your hotel, for your meeting.

D. Send her a bouquet of flowers the next day to thank her.

4) In Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates:

A. Coffee is served at the beginning of the meeting.

B. The exchange of business cards is simultaneous: you offer yours with your right hand and receive that of the other with your left hand.

C. Your meeting may be interrupted for prayer.

D. Your host will be very attentive to your remarks, without any possible distraction.

5) During a networking cocktail at an international congress in New York City, you:

A. Place your name tag on the left side of your jacket.

B. Hold your glass in your left hand.

C. Drink a small sip from your wine glass and smile to all, when a toast is proposed in your honor.

D. Present a potential client to your boss, by first looking at your boss and calling him by his first name. You then add "May I present...". You complete the introduction with the person's courtesy title and last name.

Here are the correct answers.

1) A, B and C.

Wearing black is reserved for funerals, mourning and black tie events. Hence, it should be avoided for business meetings. Crossing your leg will show the sole of your shoe, which is an insult and rude. Pointing to Buddha, anyone or anything, is also rude and never acceptable. Silent pauses are common. Do not fill them with meaningless talk or giggling. Accept them and reflect on what has been said.

2) C and D.

Corporate gifts are not a common practice in the UK. High tea is a meal. A 16h00 Afternoon Tea would be very much appreciated Buying a round is a good idea, but no tipping is required for drinks in a pub.

3) C and D.

The French are quite formal in their relationships. Use the person's courtesy title: Madame, followed by her last name. A "5 à 7" is an expression used to indicate a visit to one's mistress .... I bet you're very happy that you read it here first ... ;-). A Parisian café is much too noisy for a business meeting. Flowers are always appreciated as a thank you gesture.

4) C only.

Coffee is served towards the end of the meeting to tell you it's time to wrap up. Never use your left hand to present anything. It is considered soiled. By using it to take, or offer, you will insult the other person. During your private meeting, your host could answer a call or invite someone walking in the hallway to join your discussion. Do not take interruptions personally; take them culturally, as part of diversity.

5) B only.

The name tag is placed on the right side of your jacket's lapel. It makes it easy for the person that you are greeting to read your name from left to right. Hold your glass in your left hand, to keep your right one dry and ready to shake hands or offer a business card. Always introduce clients, or potential clients, first. More on networking tips in this quiz Networking Cocktail Quiz.

Before leaving, to avoid a diplomatic blunder, I also suggest you to read this previous post Travelling For Business With Style.

Write to me, if your would like me to continue with the next five countries of the index: Singapour, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Tokyo and Seoul.

การเดินทางที่ปลอดภัย. Bon voyage! Have a nice trip. رحلة سعيدة

You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.

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