- Direct Communication: Italians are direct communicators, often speaking their minds with humour in their voice. They may fail to read into understatements, therefore avoid ambiguity and indirect speech. It is best to be explicit about your point.
- Silence: Italians can grow uncomfortable with prolonged periods of silence and may naturally speak to fill it.
- Raised Voices: Italians may speak in loud voices to make themselves heard over one another. A raised voice is not necessarily a sign of anger but can be an expression of excitement or conviction.
- Personal Space: Italians generally keep a closer proximity to one another than Australians do. While this distinction is not always noticeable, they may think you are avoiding them if you move further away from what they consider to be normal.
- Touching: Italians are relatively tactile and affectionate. Hugging, kissing, black-slapping and hand-holding is common in public.
- Punctuality: In Italian culture, ‘on time’ can mean 20, 30 or even 45 minutes late, so it is common for Italians to be late to appointments and events.
- Expression: Italians are naturally more expressive in their tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, often motioning with their hands to emphasise their point. Expect many gestures to be used during communication and consider how much you use your own in comparison. Newly migrated Italians can often interpret Australian body language to be stiff and reserved.