Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
You know how to impress people, don't you?
You know, though, that it doesn't always work.
Some people just don't seem to warm to your obvious magnetism.
What's wrong with them?
Perhaps, though, in a quiet moment you wonder what might be wrong with you.
Perhaps it's time to embrace some new first principles.
Making a first impression isn't easy. People are just so sensitive these days. Sensitive about themselves, that is.
I present you William Hanson. He's an etiquette expert.
You can guess, therefore, that he's British. The British fancy themselves the apogees of charm.
Hanson's tips, as told to the Daily Mail, might make you reconsider your very being.
1. Don't Do The Double Handshake Thing.
Hanson says you have to be measured about the way you shake hands. You should offer a few seconds of eye contact, but nothing too insincere. Medium handshake pressure is preferred. But don't do that placing your left hand over the other person's right. Your left hand should stay at your side, he says. I have some sympathy with this. The Double Handshake Thing feels unctuous. Oily is never good.
2. Don't Say You're Pleased To See Someone.
Americans, Hanson says, are simply insincere. How can they be really pleased to see someone they've never met? Instead, you'll be stunned into talking without moving your lips when I tell you he suggests: "How Do You Do?" as the simplest and most sincere form of initial greeting. America, you can do this.
3. Don't Go For The Handshake First.
Wait for the boss's hand to extend first, says Hanson. You don't take the initiative. Show respect. Did I mention he's British?
4. Don't Shake Hands Across A Desk.
In my Polish culture, I was told never to shake hands across a threshold. This, apparently, would have ill fortune raining down upon me for life. Hanson says that having an obstacle to a handshake is simply bad body language. You must make your body speak fluently.
5. Stop That Kissing.
"Unless you are on familiar terms with someone, resist the urge to social kiss," he says. In America, I've noticed a severe increase of the hug. Not so much of the kiss. Then again, the British have rarely been known for their physical effusiveness. Unless you mean fights after the pubs close. Indeed, Hanson hisses: "Everyone wants to lunge at you these days and give you a kiss on the cheek. GET AWAY FROM ME!" Ah. Oh.
6. Don't Ask What The Other Person Does For A Living.
I lived in New York for a while. This was the question asked before someone even wanted to know your name. Hanson says that if it's a business setting, this question is acceptable. However: "We should not be defined by our jobs and we are all entitled to a social life away and free from the shackles of the workplace." This might be a surprise to those who live in the US, where you are your work and your work is you.
7. Don't Instantly Use First Names.
I know you're going to enjoy this handsome Hanson sentence. Are you ready? Here goes: "If they have said both their names when greeting you, and they look to be your social better or the older person then pay them the respect of calling them 'Mr. Bucket' and 'Mrs Leadbetter' -- they will probably very quickly say you may call them 'Richard' or 'Margot', but will appreciate the courtesy." They will? Are you sure? Willie, Bill, Billy, are you sure?