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Hugging etiquette in business

Hugging is a physical contact that people mostly use to show their affections and care for a very close friend and love one.

 In professional settings, a hug is a form of non-verbal communication that takes place in different situations, such as greeting or congratulating a colleague. But in a formal environment, a business hug is not always appropriate. 

When you meet and greet people in a business environment, always stick to the traditional etiquette standards making people feel comfortable and being courteous to them. 

When in doubt, refer to the following rules of hug etiquette:

  • Avoid hugging people in professional settings. 

 Observe people’s body language before deciding to hug them.

  • Take control of the situation. 

Avoid embarrassing situations and be the first to avoid uncertainty by offering your hand.

  • Never greet with a hug in the business environment. 

The classic handshake is the best option, especially when you meet people for the first time.

  • It’s awkward to ask people if you can hug them.

If you like to hug people and you are not sure if it’s ok to hug someone, then see their intentions and let them take the lead.

  • Please respect people’s personal space and take into consideration their background: culture, gender, and age.

Mostly Asian people, in particular, the Japanese, consider that displaying affection in public is not good manners. Hugging is considered rude and disrespectful behavior.

Therefore, make sure you are aware of the basic rules of etiquette and customs when you visit a foreign country or greet an international associate.

Always remember to apply proper etiquette when engaging in hugging someone and use your best judgment when you give a business hug to a person who you meet for the first time.


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