McGraw-Hill Professional Introduces KISS, BOW, OR SHAKE HANDS: An Online Cross-Cultural Training Tool for Companies and Universities

Apr 07, 2010, 10:00 ET from McGraw-Hill Professional

NEW YORK, April 7 /PRNewswire/ --

  • What does it mean if local people are late to the meeting?
  • At what point can you begin to talk business?
  • When does yes really mean no?
  • What gestures are considered rude?
  • Are there safety issues here?
  • Do you bring a gift? Should you open a gift in front of yours hosts?
  • When should you always make sure you begin eating so everyone else can begin?

Effective communication across cultures is a critical driver of success as the business world becomes increasingly global, teams are more diverse, working with international clients is widespread, and managing people across borders is common.  Organizations and universities must ensure employees and business school students have an excellent understanding of cultural differences, international protocols, etiquette, and cultural cues, whether they are looking to successfully do business outside the U.S. or working with an increasingly diverse and complex workplace at home.

KISS, BOW, OR SHAKE HANDS (, an innovative online training resource launched today by McGraw-Hill Professional, achieves this objective. It delivers essential information for handling common business interactions in more than 60 countries.  It provides clear, pertinent, up-to-date information, designed specifically for the business user, about local business cultures, protocols, etiquette, and practices to ensure people will avoid inadvertent and embarrassing missteps or misunderstandings that can jeopardize a deal or negatively impact business relationships.

Country "packets" are downloadable, giving users easy-to-use, portable access to the material while traveling.  Specific information about each country includes:

  • Tips on Doing Business – local style, typical business values (In Japan, individuals will not be complimented on good work, because the group and not the individual is rewarded.  It is a bad idea to single out Japanese workers for this reason.)
  • Cultural Orientation – cognitive styles, negotiating practices, value system, locus of decision making (The word "no" is rarely heard in Singapore.  One is more likely to hear a polite but evasive "yes."  In Singapore, the response "yes" can mean anything from "I agree" to "I hope you can tell from my lack of enthusiasm that I really mean 'no.'"  Listen for this clue; whenever there are any qualifications attached, it probably means no.)
  • Business Practices – punctuality, negotiating, and business entertaining (The Chinese traditionally decline a business gift three times before accepting; this prevents them from appearing greedy.  Continue to insist; once they take the gift, say you are pleased that they have accepted it.  Also, avoid bringing food gifts to a dinner or party unless it has been agreed upon beforehand.  To bring food may imply that your host cannot provide enough.)
  • Protocol – advice on proper greetings, forms of address, dress, dining, gifts (Find out the titles of older French people you meet, and address them in that way both during the introduction and in the course of conversation.  Even simple titles like "Madame" should be used as you converse, whether in English or French.)
  • Cultural Notes – dos and don'ts for conversations, common misunderstandings (Be aware that Brazilians consider themselves Americans also, so do not use the phrase "in America" when referring to the U.S.)
  • Country Background – a brief history, type of government, language(s), etc.
  • Know Before You Go – information on weather, driving orientation, and getting around
  • Cultural IQ Quiz – tests one's knowledge of key historical, political, economic, and cultural milestones
  • Holidays – up-to-date calendar of official holidays
  • Key Phrases in Local Languages – with audio so that you can make sure you say it correctly
  • Regional and Country Maps

The inspiration for the digital resource comes from the critically-acclaimed book, Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands, by Terri Morrison, widely recognized as an expert in intercultural communications.  It will be regularly updated and new countries will continue to be added.

"KISS, BOW, OR SHAKE HANDS is responding to a need in the marketplace," says Laura Friedman, Publisher of Digital Business for McGraw-Hill Professional.  "It delivers valuable information on working with global partners that will benefit anyone with responsibilities in international markets and will give companies a distinct competitive advantage."

KISS, BOW OR SHAKE HANDS is available as an institutional subscription, offered directly through McGraw-Hill Professional.  The product is available as a single sign-on stand alone product via a widget on an organization's intranet, through the internet via an assigned password, or as a link through an organization's existing LMS.  The site can offer alternate access for the disabled if required.

About McGraw-Hill Professional

McGraw-Hill Professional is a leading global provider of print and electronic content and services for the business, technical, and medical communities.  Its offerings include reference and certification books for all professional and educational disciplines and online solutions on business and financial, medical and health, engineering, and scientific topics.  For more information, visit

McGraw-Hill Professional is a unit of McGraw-Hill Education.  McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading innovator in the development of teaching and learning solutions for the 21st century.  Through a comprehensive range of traditional and digital education content and tools, McGraw-Hill Education empowers and prepares professionals and students of all ages to connect, learn and succeed in the global economy.  McGraw-Hill Education has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 65 languages.  Additional information is available at

SOURCE McGraw-Hill Professional