How business etiquette has changed in the world of Covid-19

 Covid-19, office, coronvirus

A firm handshake is no more a rule of interpersonal skills - at least, it's on hold for a while because of social distancing guidelines.



By Konkana Bakshi

Published: Thu 30 Jul 2020, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Aug 2020, 11:50 AM

Etiquette is always evolving - it's never etched in stone. What's intransigent is the way you build a relationship through sincerity and the continuous evolving etiquette in the business world.
A firm handshake is no more a rule of interpersonal skills - at least, it's on hold for a while because of social distancing guidelines intended to keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nobody is likely to be shaking hands at a time when staying six feet apart is the norm. Elbow bumps and such are a tad too immature for business greetings and are not appropriate in formal settings.
The new style
One can either go the traditional route and follow the Indian greeting of Namaskar - clasping your hands together and putting them over your heart as you approach someone - which has become acceptable worldwide as a greeting. I would recommend offering a sincere greeting using warm facial expressions with a smile, eye contact, a nod and placing your right palm on your chest. The whole idea of interpersonal skills is to build a better relationship through a greeting, which produces a hormone called oxytocin. Previously, we could break the ice with a handshake, but now we will just have to enhance our facial expressions as the former is not an option anymore.
Declining RSVPs
The rules around declining RSVP have become a bit more flexible. In the time of coronavirus, you can change your RSVP to decline if you cannot attend.
However, when it comes to saying no to business/social invitations, like colleagues asking you to join them six feet apart in their networking events, I recommend you master a script to politely decline. Just say something like: "I'm so thrilled to receive your invitation but I'm just not ready to socialise yet."
Masks in business
My friend and colleague Ms Jessica Leiffring said this recently in an interview and I second her wholeheartedly. You can absolutely ask your colleagues or business associates politely to put their masks on. It's one's responsibility to be mindful of safety - not only for themselves but for others around them too. And safety is always more important than etiquette.
Till next week, #beextraordinary.
wknd@khaleejtimes.com
Konkana Bakshi, Founder, Savoir Faire Academie and former Miss Elegance World


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