No talking in the bathroom!
Cultural differences can lead you to appear disrespectful towards others and, in the case of international business relations, they can result in misunderstandings and the loss of potential clients.
At the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Fair in Madrid Daniel Martínez, sales director for an important Spanish manufacturer, met Mohammed Djebrit, who was extremely interested in the products offered by his company. Although they spoke in English, communication was fluent and natural thanks to the high level of English of both men. Besides which, both Daniel and Mohammed are in their forties and have an open nature.
Although they still hadn't talked about prices and they hadn't reached an agreement, Daniel had a good feeling, a sixth sense that has hardly ever failed him during his career in sales. As they were walking down the corridor both men politely informed the other that they needed to go to the bathroom. Daniel, forever the optimist, was even pleased about that small coincidence and the fact that a client-supplier complicity was emerging. Reassured and relaxed by the positive situation, Daniel mentioned to Mohammed, in English, but with the coolness and spontaneity of southern Spain, that Roca was one of the most prestigious companies in the sector, and that the venue's facilities were of excellent quality. As they were emptying their bladders, he asked him if Roca also sold bathroom appliances in Algeria.
Daniel was met by silence. After a few minutes he dared to look at Mohammed who, with a serious and rigid demeanour, continued with his personal ablutions. Daniel knew something was wrong. He later learned that for Muslims talking in the bathroom is disrespectful and goes against the teachings of Islam. Muslims must enter the bathroom with their left foot and say a prayer to ask for Allaah's protection
from the daemons and devils that inhabit these rooms.