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The right way to greet people


Representative Photo: Fauxels/Pexels
As a trainer of Communication Skills, I begin my sessions by discussing the importance of how we greet someone. An anecdote, narrated by a professor during my college years, has helped immensely in breaking the ice with new students while imprinting this message, humorously, on their minds. My Philosophy professor, a short, upright gentleman with a French beard, was waiting for the elevator when another resident, whom he knew only as a nodding acquaintance, was passing by. After greeting him with a cursory “Hello, how are you?”, my professor was ready to enter the elevator which had descended when the acquaintance, deciding to take the greeting literally, held him in place for the next 20 minutes regaling him with a lengthy account of his health, his family’s and also that of his mother-in-law’s!

While greetings like ‘How are you?’ or ‘How do you do?’ are considered formal today and have been replaced by the simple ‘Hello, how’re you doing?’ the correct answer to these will still be “Fine, thank you!” or you can return the salutation by echoing their words. Except in cases where a friend asks you this with a genuine desire to know about your well- being, we never answer by saying “Not good” or “Hanging in there”.

I’ve often been asked whether it’s necessary to be the first to greet others and my answer has been to encourage them to do this, while explaining that courtesy and respect are always valued. It’s a positive approach and reflects your self-esteem.

Greetings need not be restricted to the outside world. Begin your day with a cheery “Good morning!” to your family. These simple words of wishing someone a pleasant day goes a long way in building relationships and can never be forced.

Next, we focus on the value of a smile. The smile that lights your face when you greet someone is a direct message that you are happy to see them. It has a positive impact, making you seem approachable and helps to cross communication barriers. A smile is the most important part of your make-up as you prepare for the day ahead. To quote Dale Carnegie, “A smile, someone once said, costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give.” Studies show that smiling makes you happier and improves your performance.

A greeting accompanied by a genuine smile and maybe a firm handshake fills the first few seconds it takes a person to form an opinion about you. This first impression affects every subsequent relationship as people will continue to think about you based upon it.

I wish my readers a great day ahead. Keep smiling!

© Parizad Trikannad

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1 Comment


Mahrukh Khajotia
Mahrukh Khajotia
Mar 20, 2023

Brought a smile to my face. So true.

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