In over Twenty Years of teaching proper Social Manners, I have created the following list, to help my clients, and students, remember “THE FIVE FORBIDDEN PLACES FOR YOUR HANDS TO BE IN A BUSINESS OR SOCIAL SETTING”. I hope this also helps you.
Roslyn Rolan, CIP
1. ABOVE YOUR NECK.
After getting dressed in the morning, and heading out the door, a great rule of thumb to follow is to refrain from touching yourself from your “shoulders up.” In other words, don’t play with your hair, touch your nose, rub your eyes, etc. These gestures are perceived as being nervous or fidgety. A polished person will demonstrate an air of confidence by refraining from such fidgeting.
2. IN YOUR POCKETS.
While hands in pockets can be comfortable, this gesture can also be misinterpreted. When your hands are in your pockets, this action can easily be misconstrued that you are hiding something. Rather than even taking the chance of causing confusion, keep your hands in view, opened and above board.
3. BEHIND YOUR BACK.
Like hands in your pockets, hands behind your back can easily be misinterpreted as hiding something. Although this position can be very comfortable, don’t take the chance of letting others think that you are keeping something (i.e., information or an object) from them.
4. ON OTHER PEOPLE.
No matter how much you like being hugged, touched, or patted, don’t ‘assume’ that other people like these gestures offered by colleagues or friends. A harmless pat on the back, touch on the arm, etc. may cause distance between you and others-especially if you have invaded their comfort zones. Rather than taking the risk of offending others, play it safe by sticking with a handshake.
5. ON YOUR LAP.
When learning Table Manners, in the American Dining Style, one hand you are using to hold your utensil, while the other should remain in your lap. Most business people today keep both hands visible, using the Continental Dining Style.