Laos 's Communication Style

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For men greeting men, this is usually done with both hands pressed together in a prayer in front of your body and accompanied with a slight bow or nod. For women greeting women or men greeting women, this is usually done with both hands pressed together in the prayer position just below the chin and accompanied with a slight bow.

Greeting

Lao people always keep smile during greetings. The standard Lao greeting is "Saibaideebor" means "how are you?" and the often response is "sabaidee". For men greeting men, this is usually done with both hands pressed together in a prayer in front of your body and accompanied with a slight bow or nod. For women greeting women or men greeting women, this is usually done with both hands pressed together in the prayer position just below the chin and accompanied with a slight bow.

Personal space and touching

In most circumstance, an arm’s length of personal space is the norm

Touching during conversations is limited to non-existent especially the case with people of the opposite sex

Avoid touching anybody’s head as it is considered very disrespectful but it is acceptable for adults to touch children’s head.

Public displays are usually inappropriate and offensive

Eye contact

Direct eye contact is the norm in most situations

When a man speaks to a woman, especially younger woman, she may avoid making direct eye contact and keep her eyes focused on the ground.

Gestures

To beckon someone, hold your hand palm downwards with the fingers pointing towards the ground and waggle them loosely. Beckoning with the palm upward (Western style) maybe considered rude.

Avoid pointing as it is considered rude

It is normally courteous and expected to remove one’s shoes before entering somebody’s home. It is compulsory when entering a Buddhist temple.

Showing the soles of your bare feet is considered a rude gesture and most Laotians sit in a way that hides the feet from view.

Clothes

When entering a temple, men should wear long pants and shirt. Women should avoid shirts, miniskirts, halter-tops, and strapless tops (anything exposing their shoulder).

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