“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” What a true, and, unfortunately, an increasingly overlooked, statement. I can’t remember, and probably will never even know, all of the times that the way that I greeted somebody for the first time affected the opportunities that were to come later into my life.
I’ve written about it before, but we live in a society that is becoming less and less polite with each and every passing day. We see this everywhere from the schoolhouse to the mall to unfortunately even the church. Many parents my age weren’t taught proper manners and, as a result, don’t even know how to begin to teach them to their children. As a result, children often become unruly and as a result in become unwelcome in many locations.
I want my children to not only have the ability to fit into any social situation they might find themselves in; I want them to feel comfortable and at ease because I believe that this is a trait of a well-rounded and confident young man or woman. That’s why we as parents have made it a priority to teach proper manners to our children. Manners matter.
With that said, I want to share five simple steps to a proper greeting. I never will forget the first time my “retired Marine” (There is no such thing) grandfather decided to teach me how a “man” shakes hands and greets somebody. (I still grimace whenever I remember that first handshake.) Nevermind that I was four years old when this “manly” lesson was given. However, I’m thankful that he taught me this lesson as it has served me well in interacting with adults when I was a child and teenager and continues to serve me well now that I am an adult myself.
How To Give A Proper Greeting.
1. Stand up straight. Don’t slouch. It conveys disrespect for the person whom you are greeting and is evidence that you’re not a serious minded person.
2. Smile. You want to show that you’re happy to meet them. This simple act will often set the tone for the conversation that follows.
3. Look them in the eye. Don’t look at the ground or somebody else. Look at them and the best way to make sure that you are doing so is to make eye contact. This also communicates confidence and that you are paying attention to what they are saying.
4. Give a quick, firm handshake. This also communicates confidence and respect. Make sure that you “go all the way in” as my grandfather taught me. Don’t just grab the end of their fingers. If they are wearing rings and you squeeze hard here, it will hurt their hand.
5. Say, “Hello.” If you’re meeting for the first time, say, “Hello” and give your name. For example, when I meet somebody for the first time I would shake their hand firmly and say, “Hello, I’m Brad Whitt. It’s nice to meet you.”
It is unbelievable, and unacceptable that parents do not teach their children how to greet properly and introduce themselves. It sets their children up to fail as they grow up and become adults.
Teach these five simple steps to a proper greeting to your kids. They will thank you later when they land that big job or promotion. At the very least they will be a pleasure to be around and show that you care enough to teach them how to be a well-mannered young man or woman. Don’t forget; manners do matter.