Is it me?

By Anita Jaynes on 3 June, 2015

John Davies is a senior corporate partner at leading commercial law firm Thrings. This post marks the first in a series where John will address a topical news or business related issue and give his thoughts in a frank and comical way. This instalment discusses the business meet and greet.

Are you a tiger or a kitten? Are you a crusher or a wafter? Are you an air pecker or do you border on an intimate smooch? Do you revel in macho prowess or do you secretly enjoy the delicate intimacy of that first touch?

The business meet and greet can be a perilous affair. It’s high drama stuff and the effects can be long-lasting and devastating if you get it wrong. In a split second you’ve set the tone for the relationship, you’ve given a very honest insight into your persona, you’ve bared your soul and there is no going back.

It’s such a personal thing and we’re all different. I like to produce a solid, yet understated handshake. Something I can be proud of and reflects the way I’ve been brought up. My handshake is a dependable friend. If it were a person you’d know you could have a great deal of fun with him. He’d be trustworthy and would have your back.

I want my handshake to reflect the fact I’m Welsh, British and European. I’ve never been a crusher and I’ve never been a wispy tickler. When the hands part, I want my co-shaker to think they have been part of something special…..but not too special.

So I ask again, how do you go about it? Are you a cross between Rambo and Vladimir Putin, or does your grasp resemble an underweight butterfly landing on a daisy? Have you even thought about it? You should.

But this is just the start. I don’t know where it came from or how it happened. It’s much like buying bottled water – I used to pour scorn on the concept, but it snuck up on me. I didn’t and now I do. Sometimes I can’t help it.

The continental cheek kiss greeting.

There’s no grey area with this bad boy. It’s either a lovely thing or a complete car crash. There’s nothing worse than leaning in for the continental kiss and discovering the potential recipient is a) less keen, b) shocked, c) horrified or d) completely flummoxed. And then you increase the discomfort levels by going for the double whammy. It’s tricky. How long should you know someone before you go for it? Do the rules change when the setting changes? Should you air-kiss or actually land one (or two)? It’s quite a dilemma isn’t it?

I suspect there isn’t a right or wrong answer here for either the shake or the cheek peck, but having mused on the subject, I’m now slightly paranoid about who I bump into next and how I’ll perform in the meet and greet arena. Perhaps it’ll be you. If it is, please don’t judge me.

John Davies


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Twitter: @ThringsLaw