Tip on the proper business etiquette: part 1 of 3 Handshakes & Introductions

Practicing the proper way to shake-hands, introduce yourself and engage in conversation is a surefire way to make good first impression, build your network at the same time increasing your confidence. Below is a list of does and don’t during social and formal occasions such as gala dinners.

  1. Who initiates?

The first rule of handshakes is that someone who is regarded as your senior or in a higher position of authority initiates the handshake. So wait for them to extend their hand.

  1. Firm and brief does the trick

A handshake should be firm and brief. Females tend to have a softer handshake, understandably so, yet practicing a firmer handshake would make for good practice. This conveys a strong character and assertiveness.

Avoid dead-fish handshakes. Dead-fish handshake is a soft, placid feel of the like a dead fish makes it universally unpopular and most people relate it to weak character. Surprisingly, many people who use it are unaware that they do so, and it is wise to ask your friends to comment on your own handshake delivery.

The knuckle grinder is the trademark of the aggressive ‘tough guy’ type. Avoid this type of handshake to.

  1. Make eye contact and smile

If seated get up and shake the person’s hand. It shows that the two of you are on the same level. Keep still as you make eye contact this shows that you are interested in the person. A smile simply sets everyone at ease and tells the other person that you are happy to meet them.

  1. Mind you left hand

It should not be in your pocket or clicking a pen or clenched into a fist. Swazi’s have a tendency to use both hands at times when shaking hands, the left hand supports the right, and the right one is used to shake. It is a way of humbling yourself, showing that you respect the other person or their position. A slight bow or curtsy accompanies the handshake. It is acceptable to do this, but be mindful not to appear too submissive.

  1. Introductions

If attending a meeting as a delegation. The most senior person introduces the rest. Wait until he/she introduces you to the other party.

A good introduction could be “Hello, My name is Arsenio de Oliveira founder of BizMindedSD, how do you do?” This has included my name, organization and position. If you have a mouthful of a name or surname such as myself consider shortening it for example I could introduce myself as “Mr Oliveira”.

The other person might respond and say “Pleasure meeting, my name is Edward Dlamini, marketing manager at Big Company” Try to memorize names by using it several times in a conversation, this will do you good in future encounters. If you call Edward by his name in another event he sure will feel special and that is another good impression.

It goes without saying that as Swazi’s we at times call others by their “Tinanatelo”.  Hence, referring to Edward as Nkosi would be a good way to show a love of culture this again adds to creating a good impression.

The next article will look into email etiquette. Enjoy your week!


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