- Communication style: Greeks are passionate about dialogue and love to be swept away in conversation. They may show a tendency to digress from the topic at hand and try to interrelate subjects or merge discussion with other thoughts they have. These long-winded, blended conversation patterns can be frustrating if the person on the other end of the exchange is looking for a concise answer. You can ask questions that require a direct answer to navigate around this communication style.
- Language style: Greeks speak in a very loquacious and charming way, tending to use quite verbose, theatrical and intense language. To an Australian, this communication style can feel exaggerated or pretentiously imposing. However, it is not intended that way.
- Raised Voices: Greeks have few reservations about yelling to make themselves heard and often speak with impassioned, loud voices. A raised voice is more likely to be an expression of excitement and conviction than a sign of anger. Alternatively, a Greek becoming more nonverbal and reclusive would be a stronger indication that they are seriously upset than when they argue at boisterous volumes.
- Personal Space: Greeks keep less personal space between one another than Australians. Therefore, they may sit or stand at slightly closer proximities than what you are used to.
- Touching: Greeks are very tactile and affectionate compared to what some people are used to, so hugging and kissing in public is very common.
- Punctuality: In Greek culture, ‘on time’ can mean 20, 30 or even 45 minutes late. Nevertheless, tardiness is usually accompanied with a heartfelt apology and legitimate excuse.
- Body Language: It’s safe to expect many hand gestures to be used during communication as Greeks tend to be more expressive in their body language than Australians. Furthermore, consider that newly migrated Greeks often interpret Australian body language as being stiff and reserved.
- Expression: Despite being animated communicators, some Greeks reserve smiles for close friends and will laugh less than an Australian during conversation. This can give them a more serious exterior when meeting someone for the first time.
- Nodding: Nodding your head to say “yes” is not always considered polite in Greek culture as it can be confused with a similar head movement of the head (a single jerk either up or down) that is used to refuse something offered. It is safest to verbally agree in order to avoid confusion.
- Eye Contact: Greeks usually expect direct eye contact to be made during conversation – try and meet their gaze when you talk to them.
- Gestures: The hand gesture that signals ‘Okay’ (by putting one’s forefinger and thumb together to make a circle) is an obscenity in Greece. It is also rude to make an open palm pointing at someone’s face.