Body-language and nonverbal communication

To drink a toast to somebody








To drink a toast to somebody

Last week I talked to a manager who had been busy in China for quite a long time. He told me a very personal experience which as he underlined had a deeper meaning for him which he had not yet puzzled out.

Each time when there was a business dinner everybody tried to drink a toast to  him and his German colleagues. He felt this to be an important gesture towards the foreign guests. As there were only some Germans and many Chinese often it was not easy for each Chinese and for each table to have enough time to drink a toast. Perhaps you can imagine this kind of social stress in the restaurant where he had been.

Well, judged from a German point of view, one could say, that ……………..this could happen because of the circumstances. One could also add that this would not be too big a problem. One could also believe that people who had not have the chance to drink a toast to the person could live with this. Or pick up a chance later in the evening to address the foreigner.

Instead of this in China, the manager said, this would often be regarded as a big problem. Chinese people really felt uncomfortable, disappointed and disregarded.

And they felt completely shame or devaluation in the eyes of the other Chinese colleagues in the room.

Obviously Chinese people need some kind of being seen in public, in the restaurant which the German manager was talking about. It is not enough or sufficient to address the foreigner or to find contact to him, later or in another way. The others being together with the Chinese have to realize this to happen. They need the others to be there.

So, one could think that there are three purposes or intentions to drink a toast to the German manager: the one is to make friends with the foreigner, the second is to feel himself being important, the third is to feel connected with his colleagues in a special way.

So both are dependant from each other: the single person needs the social mirror to enrich his feeling of proud and importance, whereas the social group of colleagues needs such important colleagues in order to continuously reestablish its own self-esteem.



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