Successful Hygiene for International Professionals

It is important to be aware of American customs if working in the American workplace. Many customs that are routine in one’s native country might be awkward or unacceptable in the USA. For example, not everyone realizes that a firm handshake is the preferred manner to greet someone, regardless of gender. A kiss on the cheek would be inappropriate!

Communication is made up of how we send and receive information, both verbally and non-verbally. Our first impression is delivered by visual signals. Voice and words can then enhance or sabotage that first image. Our listening style can directly influence the conversation and how we are perceived by others. However, personal hygiene can have a significant impact on the outcome of social/business interactions. Good hygiene may go unnoticed, but poor hygiene can jeopardize our image and prevent us from succeeding in our career.

Here are some hygiene suggestions for the individual who is working in the USA.

  • Shower or bathe regularly
  • Use perfume/cologne in moderation
  • Use deodorant, mouthwash, etc.
  • Freshen your breath if you just smoked a cigarette
  • Keep fingernails clean and manicured (polish is not necessary)
  • Keep hair clean and neat
  • Wear natural and minimal make-up
  • Cover your mouth if you cough, cough into your sleeve, or turn away
  • Use a tissue or handkerchief to wipe your nose (do not use your sleeve!)
  • Wash your hands after attending to personal matters

Check out our video and share it with your colleagues or employees. Let’s hear your comments below. What other issues of hygiene can you list?


Contact us at Successfully Speaking to learn how you can improve your professional image and speaking skills.