Effective Communication – Meeting Others

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Now onto the final blog of our Effective Communication series.

You only have one chance to meet people for the first time. 

First impressions last (although they change through time). When you meet someone, you are immediately judged. Your first impression determines whether they wish to invest time into you or not.

I will brief you on interacting with someone using the American way of greeting for the first time. There are various ways of interacting with someone in each culture and I am in no way invalidating the ways of other cultures. What I will explain is how it is customarily done in American culture.

If a lady is meeting a man and woman, especially if she is not aware of the relationship between the two, she would greet the lady of the couple first to show her respect. She would not greet the gentleman of the couple first. This is so she will feel in control and not disrespected. The same process is used when a gentleman meets or greets a couple. He would greet the gentleman of the couple first and proceed as explained earlier.

When shaking hands, you extend your right hand, not the left. Be sure to have your palm open because you will want to lock your thumb with your thumb to achieve a complete and firm handshake. Never give a half handshake! As you extend your right hand, simultaneously make a natural step forward with your right leg. They are both moving forward together to engage the person you’re meeting. Once that happens, close your hand, and hold firmly with your thumb pointing downward. Shake two to three times and release, arm and leg must then return to their original positions. At that point, you may proceed with your introduction and or conversation, or you may mutually agree to disburse. 

When you are greeting someone by shaking hands or using an alternative, keep these very important protocols in mind:

  • - Smile.
  • - Demonstrate Proper Posture.
  • - Speak Clearly.
  • - Pronounce Your Words.
  • - Project Your Voice.
  • - Look the person in the eyes

When introducing yourself, be sure to say hello, “I’m, or I am” and proceed with your first and last name. Please do not say, Hello, my name is…” That is incorrect and redundant. The proper way should be: “Hello or any appropriate greeting, I’m Jackie Vernon-Thompson.” and not “Hello, my name is Jackie Vernon-Thompson.”

It is extremely important to listen to what the person you are meeting is saying during the introduction process. Two things happen when you listen keenly to what they say: you learn how to address them because they will disclose to you exactly how to address them. For example, Doctor, Chief, Pastor, Bishop, Lieutenant, Sergeant, etc. Secondly, you will be able to respond to them appropriately.

While conversing with them, get comfortable with mentioning the person’s name a few times. One thing’s for sure, most people love to hear their name. It not only strokes their ego or makes them feel special, but it also helps you to remember their name because you have heard yourself say it a few times. I am not saying to state their name every other word.  That would be overbearing. However, find appropriate places in the conversation to mention their name. 

Please also refrain from complaining when you are in a professional environment or attending an occasion where the energy is up and clearly there is no room for woes in the conversations. When you meet someone, and they ask, “How are you,” simply answer with “I’m doing well” or “I can’t complain,” even though you can or something of that sort. When meeting someone, you should express energy, positivity, and kindness. Be an optimist, not a pessimist. Remember that first impression are lasting impressions.

Effective communication opens doors to opportunities. Expressing yourself clearly and precisely heightens people’s interest in you because everyone is fond of a great communicator. As they say, communication is the key to relationships, and those relationships can be at any level!

I truly hope you received a few priceless tips from our Communication blogs. 

I appreciate you so very much.  Stay tuned for our next blog!

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