A satisfactory end to an encounter can never be guaranteed, but a good start is always possible. Your words and demeanour significantly affect the reactions of others, so use welcoming words to help start all proceedings on a positive note.
The words used to greet people you know will be governed by the relationship. If the relationship is an equal one, you will almost certainly use first names and an informal situation such as “Good morning”, “How are you?” or “Nice to see you”. With strangers, the greeting also acts as an introduction, so you announce your name (“I’m Funmilola Adebayo”) and follow up with an expression of polite pleasure (“It’s good to see you”). This implies friendly intent. Even if hostilities are possible, a civil verbal start is always wise.
Using Bodily Contact
If you are greeting a person with whom you are familiar, you may or may not shake hands, though it is more likely in a formal situation. In most situations, meet strangers with an extended hand, and offer a firm shake. Avoid offering a limp handshake, which may give an impression of weakness. Be aware of cultural rules that affect greetings between sexes. For example, it may be inappropriate for men and women to make any physical contact. Watch your posture, too: rise to your feet when receiving guests, and stand straight.
When an argument has been reached or a productive meeting is ending, make a point of emphasizing its success with your body language. If you are the host, remember to thank the other party or parties for their contribution and show them not just to the door of the meeting room but also to the exit of the building. You may wish to say goodbye with a handshake, which will probably be warmer and more prolonged than when you greeted them. In other words, treat them as if they are your guests. The same analogy applies to the meeting’s attendees – if they are on your territory, they should behave with courtesy. If the meeting has not been easy, remain courteous and civil, but without glossing over the failure.
Points to remember:
- Initial greetings should be as welcoming as possible.
- All attendees at a meeting need to be introduced to each other at the outset.
- Meetings are best ended courteously, even if they have involved disagreement.
- Behavioural and cultural differences (like whether it is customary to shake hands) should be respected at all times when travelling.
- Stand up to greet or say goodbye to people – it is rude to stay seated.