Shaking hands – it seems simple right? But getting it wrong can give a very poor first impression and put you on the back foot (so to speak) before you’ve even started. A few days ago I shook hands with someone who had a very firm grip and held on for longer than I was expecting. I remember feeling confused about what he was trying to convey – superiority or welcome? A handshake communicates a lot about yourself and knowing how to greet people correctly is important whether it is at a job interview, business meeting or a chance encounter on the street. A confident, correctly executed handshake is a very valuable skill to master – it helps establish rapport and a positive connection with the other person. If you experience a clammy, limp fish handshake, then that is usually how you will remember that person. Have a look at this excellent article from the Daily Muse in Forbes about why your handshake matters and how to get it right.
The other greeting that often trips people up is the hongi. For many people a hongi is outside of their comfort zone – the word hongi literally means ‘sharing of breath’ so it is an intimate gesture and can be a bit daunting if you have never given one before. There are various circumstances where you may be expected to give a hongi in the workplace, especially working in the public sector, with community groups or in education. Here are the basic steps as provided by TVNZ’s Seven Sharp programme:
1. Shake hands
2. Step forward as you do this
3. Press noses (and forehead) for about 1 second
4. Watch the TVNZ video How to give a successful hongi
Remember: large hats do not make for a successful hongi as Camilla, Duchess of York discovered to her chagrin!