Business Etiquette is Gender Neutral

The Handshake

Shake hands with everyone, men and women alike with a one handed hand shake. If a man uses a two handed handshake on a women with whom they do not have a close relationship, it is seen as condescending.

During a conversation with Tim Sanders, author of The Likeability Factor, I asked Tim about his thoughts on “The Handshake”. Tim advises to match the other person’s handshake and I absolutely agree. While everyone should strive for a firm handshake, if you are presented with a soft handshake, it would be overly aggressive to squeeze the other person’s hand.

Do I Stand?

In business, both men and women stand when being introduced.

What’s in a Name?

When introducing, always give the person’s full name.

Never give anyone a nickname. If a person’s name is Catherine, do not shorten it to Kate unless otherwise directed by the person.

Never use affectionate names for people at work such as “Honey,” “Babe,” “Doll” which can be construed as demeaning and could get you written up for sexual harassment.

Ms., Miss or Mrs.?

In spoken or written communication, address a woman as “Ms.” unless otherwise directed.

By Rank

In business people are introduced based on rank and not gender or age.

No Touchy

Avoid touching people in business. As relationships build, a touch on the shoulder or right forearm is allowed with permission. To be on the safe side men should avoid touching women other than the professional one handed handshake. Tim Sanders who is on a mission to create “lovecats” in the workplace is trying to break down the physical barrier. He will hug, with permission, clients affirming that he really does care about them beyond purely business.

Who Opens the Door?

Whoever gets there first! In business, whoever reaches the door first holds the door open for the next person, regardless of gender. If someone opens a door for you, however, you should not protest this act of politeness, not a demonstration of superiority.

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