LONDON (Reuters) - (Jo Bryant is an etiquette advisor and editor at Debrett’s, the UK authority on etiquette and modern manners (www.debretts.com). Any opinions expressed are her own. Debrett’s has a publishing heritage dating back over two centuries with a contemporary range of publications including “A-Z of Modern Manners”, “Etiquette for Girls” and “Guide for the Modern Gentleman”.)
By Jo Bryant
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - We all know that making a good impression is fundamental to professional and social success. All too often, however, we unintentionally tarnish our personal polish by forgetting the basics of face-to-face communication.
From personal appearances and body language to handshakes and introductions, here are some top tips on being remembered for all the right reasons...
1. Looking Good
Your appearance is an instant message to those around you, so the way you look is as important as how you behave. It goes without saying that you and your attire should be shiny and clean from head to toe. Dress appropriately for the situation - tailor your personal sense of style to suit your surroundings.
2. Positive Posture
The way you stand, walk and sit all make a big impression. Hold your head high, keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back, but keep it all looking natural. Tread lightly (no clumping, thundering footsteps), and don’t drag your feet or shuffle. Women should always sit with their knees together; men should avoid sitting with their legs excessively wide apart, and should never repeatedly jiggle their leg up and down.
3. Boost Your Body Language
Body language is a series of silent signals that play a vitally important part in the impression you give to the world. Create an air of confidence and positivity by avoiding crossed arms, hunched shoulders and awkward fidgeting. Focus on good posture, positive gestures and a natural sense of self-awareness. Never yawn in public and don’t forget to smile.
4. Shake On It
A handshake, lasting just a few seconds, is the common form of greeting for all business situations and most social situations. Always use your right hand and ‘pump’ the recipients hand two or three times before you let it go. Make eye contact and ensure that your fingers firmly grasp the other palm. Avoid bone-crushing grips or loose, limp hands.
5. Successful Social Kissing
When faced with a cheek-to-cheek greeting, approach the situation with confidence. Usually it’s right cheek first, but prepare to change direction at the last minute. Cheek skin must make brief, light contact; avoid sound effects, air kissing and saliva traces. Pull back decisively (but don’t be too abrupt) if you are just giving one. Be cautious with those you are less familiar with - two might seem over the top.
6. Seeing Eye-to-Eye
There’s no doubt that a certain amount of eye contact is a positive form of communication, but remember that there’s a split-second’s difference between a good impression and unnerving staring. Eye contact is crucial when you are being introduced to someone, shaking hands and engaging in conversation. Just don’t unnerve your recipient with an intense gaze.
7. Interesting Introductions
When you are introduced to someone, the traditional response is to say “How do you do”. If this is overly formal for the situation, then a friendly “Hello” is an equally acceptable response. If you are making the introductions, remember the hierarchy: men should be introduced to women, juniors to elder people. Offer a little information about each person as you introduce them to help break the ice. Speak clearly and don’t mumble; you don’t want people to be left embarrassed, forced into “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name” territory.
Editing by Paul Casciato