I’ve got a burning question which I know a large proportion of professional women and men have pondered about at some point in their career. Read on…
I’ve got a burning question which I know a large proportion of professional women and men have pondered about at some point in their career. I have. Although the answer can make a difference to business outcomes, there is actually no ‘one size fits all’ type solution. So here I am, in search of an answer…
I wonder: to kiss or not to kiss?
You may think I’m referring to kissing a colleague while drunk at an office Christmas party. However interesting that debate may be, what I’m questioning myself about is: in a business setting, should women be kissed on the cheek or should their hand be shaken (whether that be between women or from a man to a woman)?
Now, if I’ve never met the person (man or woman), a cheek kiss would be completely out of question – a handshake it is! But there are many more situations that add shades of grey and blur the kissing question.
For example, what if you see this person in a social setting where it would be ‘normal’ to exchange cheek kisses. Do you go back to the handshake when you see them afterwards in a business context? Or is there a point of no return once you’ve kissed?
What if someone was first and foremost a friend (in which case you would have been used to kissing them), and they become a business colleague? Should you stop kissing them in a business setting and only shake their hand? Wouldn’t that be weird?
Does it depend on the culture of your organisation?
Here’s another example which happened to me the other day… I was heading to a meeting and the first colleague I met on my arrival kissed me on the cheek. I knew him more than the others so it was fine. But just to be fair, I felt as though I then had to kiss everyone else standing around when I might have preferred a handshake.
What’s the right etiquette in situations like these? Also, how do you make sure the other person (with whom you may exchange a handshake or a kiss) follows the same protocol and you both avoid that awkward ‘kissing/not kissing’ move?
The other dilemma which rises from this is: is there a risk that kissing a woman on the cheek in a business setting may place her on a different level to her male counterpart? Or does it simply showcase women’s amiability and communicative nature?
So tell me, whether you are a man who may kiss or be kissed by a woman or a woman kissing or being kissed by a man/woman, what’s your opinion on this topic? To kiss or not to kiss?