HUG OR HANDSHAKE? The Creative Group Survey Shows Most Executives Don't Embrace Business Hugs

TORONTO, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Have you hugged a coworker today? According to a recent survey by The Creative Group, nearly four in ten advertising and marketing executives (41 per cent) said hugging colleagues is at least somewhat common in Canada, and 26 per cent said it's not out of the ordinary to greet clients that way. But many frown upon the practice: 58 per cent of executives interviewed said embracing coworkers in a business setting is inappropriate; 72 per cent said they rarely, if ever, hug clients or business contacts.

The Canadian survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "In general, how common is it for you to greet the following individuals with a hug instead of a handshake in Canada?" Their responses:

    <<
                                                                     Client/
                                                                     -------
                                                                    Business
                                                                    --------
                                                      Coworker       Contact
                                                      --------       -------
        Very common if you know the individual
         well or it has been a while since you
         have seen him/her........................         10%            4%
        Somewhat common if you know the individual
         well or it has been a while since you
         have seen him/her........................         31%           22%
        Not common at all; hugging is rarely
         appropriate in a business setting........         47%           36%
        Never; hugging is not appropriate in a
         business setting.........................         11%           36%
        Don't know................................          1%            1%
                                                        ------         ------
                                                          100%         99%*
    >>

* Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

"When greeting colleagues in a professional setting, it's always best to err on the formal side, especially if you're not very familiar with your audience and the environment," said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in Canada. "Making a positive first impression is particularly important when meeting new business contacts and a proper greeting is one way to demonstrate your professionalism."

The Creative Group offers four tips for greeting business contacts with grace:

    <<
    1.  Make the first move. To avoid awkwardness, extend your hand first --
        that way it will be clear which type of greeting is most comfortable.
    2.  Clue into customs. If you're working with international contacts, be
        familiar with their traditional greetings, whether it's bowing, cheek
        kissing or shaking hands.
    3.  Start with those less familiar to you. If you're meeting with a group
        of people, introduce yourself to new contacts with a handshake before
        greeting long-term professional colleagues who you know like to hug.
    4.  When in doubt, play it safe. A firm, three-second handshake,
        accompanied by a warm smile and good eye contact, communicates
        confidence and friendliness in most situations.
    >>

About the Survey

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 250 telephone interviews -- approximately 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com.

SOURCE The Creative Group

For further information: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com


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