The art of meeting and greeting

Tonight I was at a meet and greet.  I was the primary greeter, the first person most guests met when they arrived to the event.  I was happy and honored to have a chance to meet so many important guests and usher them into the party, but I also felt a bit rusty.  I haven’t been involved in these kinds of soirees since last July.  The event was a prelude to another large event I have to host next Sunday.  I’m glad to have had the opportunity to practice.  I felt awkward trying to greet all the guests, coming up to them, extending a hand and introducing myself, welcoming them, and ushering them to the sign-in table. 
I learned a few things tonight about the fine art of meeting and greeting people, and I thought I would share them with you in case you have to do the same.
  1. In Asia, be sure to bow your head when you shake hands.  I did not realize I wasn’t bowing my head until a Korean coworker pointed out Korean protocol.  This courtesy is an especially important one to remember when you’re in Asia.  In other cultures, follow the protocol of the local culture.  If you don’t know, ask someone who knows how to make a proper introduction.
  2. Be in the line of sight when the guest(s) arrive.  Don’t stand off to the side where they can’t see you.  Come up to them and try to get their attention, but don’t block their way.
  3. Meet the one in a group who appears to be the most important person.  A group of people who enter together pace themselves with the group leader.  Find that person, meet and greet them, and help them on their way.  The rest will follow their lead.
  4. Make sure you get the person on their way.  Make sure you don’t leave the person stranded and left alone to figure what they need to do next.  Help them get to their next destination, such as signing in, or hand them off to another escort.
  5. Make chit chat, but not chat.  Try to say something nice to the person to make them feel welcome, but don’t get bogged down in a conversation that will tie you down.
  6. Don’t be afraid to get reinforcements.  When possible, have at least two greeters at the door.  Often, many people will come at once, and they will all need your attention.
  7. Let the speeders pass you by.  Occasionally someone will pass you quickly without acknowledge you.  Let them go.  They have better things to do.

Blog Notes:  One of the people I met up with tonight reads this blog.  They read my entry last night about the new U.S. Ambassador and thought it might have been a bit too, well, praiseworthy.  Actually, I really do hold the Ambassador and his wife in high regard.  It really wasn’t a vain attempt at lavishing too much praise on someone.   I really meant what I wrote about him.  I have a lot of respect for a couple such as Ambassador and Mrs. Vershbow, who are both very accomplished in their own right.  One engages in foreign policy, and the other exhibits their professional artwork.  I usually work a long day, come home, and spend time with my family.  A couple such as the Vershbows are exceptional and an inspiration.

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