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A Kiss On The Cheek Maybe Quite Continental...
But Brits Prefer a Handshake!

In a recent survey by secretarial and office support recruitment consultancy, Office Angels 83% of office workers admit to having seriously misjudged the manner in which they've greeted a colleague or a client.

The survey of 1,500 office workers reveals how confusion over professional greetings etiquette - when to use a handshake or a kiss - is widespread. Over two thirds of office workers admit that 'getting it wrong' has caused them acute embarrassment and 52% say it has affected professional relationships.

The top five 'greeting blunders' are:-

1. 'The Continental' - Attempting to 'go continental' with a two-cheek kiss - while the other
person leans in to kiss just once (32%)

2. 'The Bone-crusher' - Giving a 'bone-crushing' handshake in order to show your
eagerness (27%)

3. 'Turning the other cheek' - Going for a handshake when the other person offers their
cheek (21%)

4. ‘The Smacker' - Misjudging a kiss and almost planting a 'smacker' on the lips (12%)

5. 'The Bear Hug' - Being too enthusiastic and ending up giving the recipient a hug (8%)

The survey shows this clumsiness stems from people's uncertainty about how long to wait before moving from a handshake to a kiss - a problem which 81% of office workers admit to. Almost half confess to being even more ungainly when it comes to greeting members of the opposite sex.

78% of respondents think a successful greeting is vital to future professional relationships, with a third feeling that the recipient would remember a ‘greeting blunder’ forever. Over half of those questioned agree that today's more casual approach to greeting etiquette is responsible for the confusion, whilst a quarter believe that the traditional handshake should remain the standard workplace greeting.

The type of industry you work in significantly influences greeting etiquette. Almost three-quarters of office workers say they view those in creative professions - such as fashion, media and publishing - as being 'double cheek' kissers whereas those in the more traditional fields - such as law and accountancy - are considered firm believers in the handshake.

"Knowing how to greet colleagues and clients can be a difficult business, with most office workers having made a 'greeting blunder' at some point in their career," says Paul Jacobs, Managing Director of Office Angels. "Firstly, you need to judge how formal the situation or relationship is and opt for an appropriate greeting on this basis. If in doubt, the general consensus is to be too formal rather than too informal – you can't really go wrong with a handshake! If you do make a blunder, all is not lost - just apologise straight away. In most cases, all will be forgotten or the recipient will see the funny side."

Tips for surviving the greeting pitfalls:-

1. If you're unsure how to greet someone, follow the lead of the other people present

2. When meeting someone for the first time, stick to tradition and shake hands

3. One kiss or two? If in doubt, opt for one, but make sure you're aware of what the other
person is doing so you're ready for a second one if necessary!

4. In an interview situation, always shake hands - even if the interview has gone really
well and you really want the job!

5. Be aware of your own strength - you may be enthusiastic about your work, but there is no need
to crush the other person's hand – a firm handshake will suffice. Equally beware the 'wet fish'
handshake - there is nothing worse!

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