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Knowing the Etiquette of Personal Space

Knowing the Etiquette of Personal Space

There is a certain distance that people should stand from one another to maintain a comfortable level of personal space. When someone gets too close, you immediately know it – which can cause anxious feelings.

Although there are no exact rules about the correct distance that you should separate yourself from others at the office, try to leave two to four feet between you and whoever you are coming into contact with.

Following this guideline can help you make good interactions with others. Invading personal space can create problems and send bad messages without you even knowing it.

The following are some tips to help you keep your distance and reputation positive –

1~ Defend Gently. Don’t even raise your hand and ask someone to take a ‘step back’, as this only causes a very awkward moment. If you feel uncomfortable about your distance, just take a small step back while talking. Another way of keeping your space is to be holding something, like papers or a beverage in front of you, to help keep someone at bay.

2~ Noise. If you are at a networking event where the noise volume is high, sometimes people move in closer in order to hear you better. To avoid them getting too close, be sure to speak directly to them at a volume that they can hear.

3~ Touching. Hugging is a gesture shown among family and close friends, while at work it can be unwelcome. Make sure that you know the recipient very well before reaching out to them that closely. In business situations, a firm handshake is the most appropriate gesture, showing warmth without any personal infringements.

4~ Background Check. If you travel to other countries for business, make sure to check their local customs and traditions first before showing affection. Personal space varies in certain countries and you don’t want to offend without even knowing it. Do your homework before you leave for the trip.

5~ Relationships Matter. The closer you are to someone, the nearer you interact with them. The general rule of thumb is for those you don’t know well, you should stand five to 10 feet apart while talking. When socializing, you can stand two to five feet from someone and intimate space is shown at a two foot distance.

Using these guidelines can help you feel better with your office and networking interactions, knowing that you are at a proper distance to keep your professional reputation moving forward.

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