If you travel internationally for work or leisure, you surely have come across guides about etiquette and manners in foreign lands. Visual guides and infographics have become particularly popular in recent years – like these examples: IG1 • IG2 • IG3 • IG4. With respect to differences in hand gestures around the world these guides are helpful but they are somewhat limited in their use. After all, how many different gestures can you possibly fit into a one-pager graphic and still make them legible on the screen of a phone or a tablet?
This is where the mobile App Gestunary offers a better level of usability. Developed by a team around global business coach Hanneke Riedijk, Gestunary serves as a personal intercultural counsel on the road. The App is a mobile dictionary for gestures, a useful guide for private and business trips abroad. It allows you to search gestures by country and explains what motions and expressions mean in a particular cultural environment.
Riedijk was inspired to create Gestunary after traveling throughout Europe and Asia where she realized how easy it is to misunderstand and be misunderstood: “Often times, when we don’t speak the language in a foreign country, we are inclined to use hand gestures to make ourselves understood. Because we believe them to be known around the world, when in fact they might actually be false friends and mean completely different things depending on where you are.”
Currently the App features more than 200 images of gestures from ten countries. Users can look for hand signs by word or explore the categories Survival Basics and Business 101. You can highlight your favorite useful gestures and save them for later – even if you are offline. It’s fair to say that Gestunary is an infographic on steroids.
For now the App is available for free; simply follow this link to download it from the Apple App store for iOS devices.
Get Gestunary to go for free and see what kind of gestures you should use and which you may want to avoid when you go on your next business trip to Japan, or Spain, or Russia, or Germany. And always remember to think twice before you wave a gesture at somebody in a foreign country.
Recently Gestunary founder Hanneke Riedijk also was a guest on The Culture Guy Podcast where she talked about her cross-cultural experiences which eventually led to the development of the App. Why don’t you give the episode a listen (and a like on social media)?
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