Ulla Buchner-Howard, DFA, CMP President, Experienced Consultant and Trainer

Do's and Don'ts in Sign Language

Non-verbal communication across cultures. Test your ability to interpret people's physical expression and body movement.

     Crossing his or her arms across the chest:

a. Unconscious barrier between themselves and others
b. Person is cold
c. Person thinking deeply about the discussion
d. Expressing opposition during confrontational situation

     No eye contact:

a. Indicates negativity across cultures
b. Indicates respect in all cultures

     The fig sign:

a. Is considered a good luck sign
b. Is considered an obscene gesture

     The finger gesture:

a. Is universally considered a phallus symbol
b. Using two fingers up indicates that you want to order 'two' of an item in the UK

     The OK sign:

a. Means everything is great
b. Means you are a big, fat ZERO
c. Indicates a strong insult referring to a body part
d. You are saying the other person is gay

     Thumbs up:

a. This indicates that you have done a good job universally
b. This is a very rude sign and almost identical to the 'finger' sign

     Interpersonal space refers to the area we imagine around us - 'our space':

a. In North America we do not like to have strangers intrude in our personal space, considered to be four to eight feet away from us.
b. European countries have identical requirements to the US.
c. The Japanese need more space.