Handshake or Hug?

You may not think twice about embracing an old colleague or long-time business partner you see at a conference or work event. But is it professional?

“A lot of professionals are starting to address this, especially females who feel they need to hug to show friendliness,” Tina Hayes, founder of The School of Etiquette and Decorum, tells PINK. She warns that some may view a hug or peck on the cheek in a work setting as inappropriate or worse – harassment.

While Hayes considers herself a hugger in general, when it comes to a work setting, “a person should always present a professional business image, which is a proper handshake,” she says. Worried about coming off cold to

old friends or new acquaintances? “A smile and eye contact with that handshake [will] show you’re friendly.”

If you’re the one who would prefer not to be hugged, Hayes recommends extending your hand immediately when walking up to someone. If they’ve already begun to initiate a hug, “just go through with it,” she advises.

As for the two-handed handshake: “That’s more common in churches or with politicians,” she says. “For some, it represents to the person that you want something from them.”

The Emily Post Institute offers tips on proper handshakes, respecting personal space and other greetings that won’t compromise your professionalism.

Bonus PINK Link: Find out what happens when manners meet technology in our guide to netiquette.

By Brittani Banks 

“Good manners have much to do with emotions. To make them ring
true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them.” Amy Vanderbilt

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