To kiss, or not to kiss, that is the question..….2014 is poised to be a ‘Great British’ year with some fantastic events happening across the UK. Having welcomed three million guests through its doors in 2013 Jurys Inn has compiled a formula for a ‘Great British Greeting’ to ensure they are ready to welcome guests from all over the globe.
Anticipating an influx of visitors to watch The Grand Départ of the Tour De France in Yorkshire, the celebrations to mark the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare, The Ryder Cup coming to Gleneagles for the first time and Glasgow playing host to the much anticipated Commonwealth Games, Jurys Inn has teamed up with behavioural expert Judi James, a favourite on reality TV Series Big Brother, to provide the perfect British formula on how to greet someone for the first time.
Taking social greetings back to basics, the ‘eye connect’ is of prime importance and any greeting should begin with an ‘eye-greet’ and ‘eye-smile’ before any physical contact to show strangers that they are welcome. Whether you are hugging or just shaking hands it is important to raise your hand or hands from a distance of about three feet to register your intentions. Once you have received a mirrored reply from the other person you can step in for a hug or handshake. Remember though that very close friends or relatives might perform a full torso hug but with everyone else the torsos should barely touch. Men tend to register their alpha superiority with three hearty pats on your back. However, watch out for a series of light pats on your back which, usually signals the other person’s desire to break the hug.
Then there is the question, to kiss, or not to kiss. If an ‘air-kiss’ is appropriate, you should touch both shoulders lightly and steer the other person to kiss right cheek to right cheek first, then left cheek to left cheek, but your lips should NEVER touch their face!
Judi James, behavioural expert, comments: “Although the purpose of a greeting is the same the world over, the actual customs and rituals in greeting someone can vary from country to country. From a handshake to a kiss to a hug, standard greetings vary widely across the world. The Jurys Inn formula will ensure we are able to greet international guests respectfully. When in doubt, remember that a firm but gentle handshake (usually with the right hand), a smile and an open mind will do.”
Suzanne Cannon, Group Marketing Manager, Jurys Inn Hotels, says: “When meeting people from all over the world it is important to ensure that we are mindful of other cultures and keep our greetings appropriate. The formula also highlights that announcement gestures are vital in terms of letting the other person know what type of greeting you are initiating so as to avoid any misunderstandings or an embarrassing faux pas.”
The formula also suggests that a ‘social’ handshake can be up to 10-20% faster than a business handshake to register warmth and enthusiasm. Stretching out your right hand to offer a firm but gentle handshake as well as placing one hand on their shoulder or upper arm will de-formalise any greeting.
A final word but just as important, if you are greeting a group of people, every member of the group should be greeted in the same way, despite hierarchy or closeness.
• Always begin with an eye greet and eye smile
• When air kissing NEVER touch the other person’s cheek with your lips
• Raise your hands from about three feet to announce whether you are going to shake hands or hug • Don’t let your handshake last too long keep it firm but gentle
• Never let torsos touch when hugging someone you don’t know well
• And remember, three hearty pats on your back is a tell tale sign that you are dealing with an Alpha Male!