Seal it with a kiss

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How often have you been caught leaning forward with your outstretched hand and puckered lips, in a quandary whether to greet the business delegate in front of you with a firm business like handshake or lean forward for the fast becoming popular ‘business kiss’? You will be surprised that this confusion is shared by not only junior employees but also global leaders. A small error in judgement on social decorum in the business world can play an ominous role to your product launch plans and tie- ups with foreign conglomerates overseas.

A well-travelled friend was recounting a humorous incident, about one of his overseas conferences. The timing of the two people poised to greet each other was completely off and their noses ended up bumping against each other much to the amusement of the other delegates present at the conference.
Misjudgements in kissing in the business world instantly reminds me of the evergreen TV series Friends where Rachel Green played by Jennifer Aniston, who after a great interview, misunderstood her prospective employer’s leaning forward for a handshake, and went ahead and kissed him causing the bewildered man to take a step back and much embarrassment to herself.
Though the controlled and formal handshake is undoubtedly defined, the dilemma of a business kiss, more specifically the dos and don’ts seem to baffle people around the globe. There seem to be no definite answers to the question, in fact some of the self proclaimed work etiquette gurus also sensibly state the best answer is to not kiss at all in a work scenario.
The art of business kissing seems to be more like, the page 3 air varietal (the muah muah range) , leaning forward with a charade of kissing sans any physical touch (God forbid).
There are, of course, places where business kissing is a strict no – no, namely an interview, your first day in the office, a junior employee initiating a business kiss with his or her seniors and so on.
You can blame it on globalisation and the potpourri of world cultures if you must; the business kiss is the latest entrant on the Indian work scenario and seems to be adding confusion to the already perplexed state of business etiquette. Though Indian women are on par with, or even ahead of their counter parts in all areas of work be it designing, banking, advertising or entrepreneurship, they are still traditional at the core and in their outlook and business kissing may make them a tad uncomfortable.
As Madan Sharma, corporate training consultant says “If you want to avoid a business kiss without offending your foreign client, hold out your hand in greeting with a sincere look and welcoming note in your voice.”
All said and done be prepared with a sense of humour and the ability to laugh at yourself if you get caught in a situation, as each country has their own culture and as the saying goes ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do.’

CELEB Take

“I THINK KISSING ON THE CHEEK OR AIR KISSING IS FINE AS LONG AS IT IS A CLOSE OR GOOD FRIEND BUT OTHERWISE IT ISN’T REQUIRED FOR ONE TO GREET OR BE GREETED IN TAT MANNER. I WOULDN’T ADVOCATE IT AT ALL, ESPECIALLY IN A BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT”

Volume 1 Issue 1

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