Hugs, kisses, high fives or handshakes? What is the appropriate greeting? As we’ve grown accustomed to mixing business and pleasure, many of us don’t realize that there are actually guidelines for greetings. Sincerity is key and you shouldn’t have to put a lot of thought into a gesture that is simple and spontaneous. Use your common sense and follow these tips:

1. Hugs are not appropriate in a business situation. Have you ever entered a meeting room and felt uncomfortable when someone else is embracing? Where do you look? Are you supposed to join in? Will there be a group hug? However, if your million-dollar client wants to give you a quick hug who are we to judge you?

2. In social settings, if you have any doubt in your mind, do not hug. If you have to think about it first, a hug is probably not heart felt or sincere. A warm smile and an "I am so glad to see you" with a firm hand shake fills in for a hug and makes all of us feel warm and welcome.

3. If you feel you need to hug, do it, but keep in mind the wants, needs and comfort of the person you are hugging. Stepping back is a clue the person doesn’t want a body embrace but leaning forward will indicate that they are coming into your space to accept or initiate a hug.

4. If you sincerely feel the urge to hug and in return get a chilly response it’s not the end of the world, move away, smile and start a conversation.

5. Keep in mind, refusing a handshake is rude. There are probably more germs on the door knob so if you are afraid of germs, retire and wash your hands after shaking.

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