When working with cross-cultural situations there can be many problems due to the cultural differences of the people involved in the communication, such as language barriers, differences in what is considered polite, and/or the way in which people perceive each other's body language and gestures, possibly leading to misunderstandings and offence. One example of such cultural differences are those between Westerns culture (UK/USA) and Asia.
When first meeting someone from China, there is little difference between the methods of introducing yourself. It is considered polite to give your full name with a simple greeting. However, Chinese people tend to greet one another by asking questions such as "have you had dinner" or "where are you going" which would very likely confuse Westerners as they would see these 'greetings' as general questions. In Western societies it is polite to simply say "hello, how are you?" or "nice to see/meet you." There is also little distinction between formal and informal greetings, whereas in Western societies it is deemed polite to shake hands on more formal occasions and when first meeting someone new, and in China it is the expected to shake hands on most social occasions as an expression of courtesy and greeting when people meet or say goodbye to each other. When first meeting someone new, in both Western and Asian societies, it is polite to address them by a title, such as Mr, Mrs or Miss, and then their last name, until invited to call them by their first name. It is also highly appreciated when meeting Chinese people to show that an effort has been made to learn some words and phrases in their language, and possibly some of their history and culture, too.
However, the orders in which people are greeted within a group are very strict. For example the most senior member of the group should be acknowledged first, and the host should be introduced to the guest first. On more formal occasions it is considered polite to give your full name, job positions and the place you work for.
It is important, when speaking to people of western culture, to respect their desire for privacy. Intrusive questions about family background, profession, marital status, money, and political preferences are deemed very rude. Whereas, In China you would expect to answer intrusive questions about personal topics, and you are expected to answer them politely, and give a broad, but polite, answer even if you don't want to answer the question.
A major difference between Western and Asian culture in communication is eye contact. In western societies it is taught from a young age that looking someone in the eye when talking/being talked to is polite. It shows attentiveness and honesty, that you are actively listening to them and understanding what they are saying. In Asian societies however, eye contact is thought to be disrespectful or rude, and lack of eye contact doesn't mean that a person is not paying attention. Women are supposed to adhere to the long established tradition of "three obediences and four virtues for women", meaning that women are inclined to avoid direct eye contact, to avoid the possibility of coming across aggressive. This may be misread by Western people, who consider eye contact as polite and confident, and misunderstanding may occur.
Touch and proximity in public differs greatly in what is seen as acceptable between Western and Asian societies. In Asia, female friends often old hands, and men casually embrace one another as they meet in the street. However patting someone's head, like Western people sometimes do to praise them, as a friendly gesture, is seen as strictly taboo in Asia. Western people like a certain amount of personal space, and may feel uncomfortable with such public behaviour.
Body gestures, such as pointing a finger to something, in Western societies are accepted as normal. It may even be used to invite someone over, in a beckoning motion. If this was done in an Asian society it would be associated with the gesture used to beckon dogs, and deemed very offensive. Asians typically use their entire hand to point to someone or something.
Also, although using hand gestures when speaking is common practise in Western societies, Chinese people may become annoyed by this, as they do not tend to do this.