Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Italian Way: Eloquent Hands

Phil Doran in his book, The Reluctant Tuscan, describes the renovation of his Italian home and his lessons from Italian tradesmen in cross-cultural communication:

“We got calls from… our carpenter and so on asking us to come to their office or workshop. Invariably, we’d discover that whatever they wanted to discuss could have been dealt with over the phone. But that’s not the Italian way. They need to see your face, look in your eyes, and use their vast array of hand gestures. So dependent are they on hand gestures that an Italian with a missing finger is thought to have a speech impediment.”

Source: Phil Doran, The Reluctant Tuscan (New York: Gotham Books, 2005), 89.

Image: Speaking with his hands.