Body Language Differences in Chinese and Western Culture

January 4th, 2010 by vivianwang

With the development of international trade and China’s  economy, we are getting in touch with foreign countries and foreigners much more frequently. So one of the most important question confronting with is how to communicate with foreigners, especially how to comprehend each other in non-verbal communication.

In my opinion, body language is the importance of non-verbal communication. As is known to all that we have obvious differences compared with western countries in culture and custom, and body language is one aspect. For example, westerners always keep a certain distance when they’re talking with others, but we Chinese like standing closed with each other. Westerners enjoy eye-contact much more than Chinese but Chinese admire respect, because we think gazing at the other people for a long time is impolite. Another example is that westerners usually lay open their hands to express “I don’t know”, but Chinese people often raise and shake their hands to deliver the same meaning. So from the examples above, I think we can conclude that body language has a great effect in non-verbal communication in cross-cultural interactions.

Body language is a kind of symbol and is also a solid expression of one’s culture. If we do not familiar with the body language when we are communicating with foreigners, we are likely to misunderstand others or interrupt the conversation. So we must understand the differences of body language between westerners and Chinese, be aware of the manners and the standards in order to avoid communicative barrier or even failure.

109 Responses to “Body Language Differences in Chinese and Western Culture”

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