Hug or a handshake?

Have you hugged a co-worker today? According to a recent survey by The Creative Group, nearly four in 10 advertising and marketing executives (41%) said hugging colleagues is at least somewhat common in Canada, and 26% said it’s not out of the ordinary to greet clients that way.

But many frown upon the practice: 58% of executives interviewed said embracing co-workers in a business setting is inappropriate; 72% said they rarely, if ever, hug clients or business contacts.

“When greeting colleagues in a professional setting, it’s always best to err on the formal side, especially if you’re not very familiar with your audience and the environment,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice-president of The Creative Group in Canada.

The Creative Group offers four tips for greeting business contacts with grace.

Make the first move

To avoid awkwardness, extend your hand first — that way it will be clear which type of greeting is most comfortable.

Clue into customs

If you’re working with international contacts, be familiar with their traditional greetings, whether it’s bowing, cheek kissing or shaking hands.

Start with those less familiar to you

If you’re meeting with a group of people, introduce yourself to new contacts with a handshake before greeting long-term colleagues who you know like to hug.

When in doubt, play it safe

A firm, three-second handshake, accompanied by a warm smile and good eye contact, communicates confidence and friendliness in most situations.