Professional Greetings in a COVID Environment

Professional greetings have always involved person-to-person contact. Whether it be hugging or giving a handshake, we establish a connection through physical touch. However, during these unusual times, we are unable to offer our friendly greetings. We have to come up with creative ways to greet others professionally without close contact. Here are a few tips/ways to greet someone professionally without close contact:

  • Maintain eye contact: Along with your eyebrows, eye contact indicates how you feel and who you are speaking to. This is especially important since the rest of your face is covered by a mask.
  • Give a polite nod: This can be used to acknowledge someone or indicate agreement.
  • Give a small wave: This can be used to acknowledge someone or let others know you are welcome to talk.
  • Give a slight bow: A bow can be accompanied by performing “namaste” (see below).
  • Perform namaste: “Place your hands at chest level, with palms together and fingers pointing up.” This gesture of polite salutation is usually performed with a slight bow.

PProfessional Greetings in a COVID Environment In situations where you are close to the person you are speaking to, here are a few ways to greet them professionally with limited contact:

  • Give a fist bump: A study shows that “a fist bump is the most hygienic contact hand greeting of all, transferring only about 10% of the germs you’d get from a standard handshake.”
  • Give an elbow bump: Jerome Adams, the former Surgeon General of the United States, recommended the elbow bump as a handshake alternative.

Still unsure how to approach someone professionally? “Follow their lead and make it work with what you are comfortable with in that situation.” Learn how to “read the room” and act accordingly. We are all adapting to new situations right now. It’s okay if you’re a little awkward at first!

  2. Greetings in the Time of COVID-19
  3. Afraid of handshakes? Try these body language greetings
By Cindy Cheng
Cindy Cheng