Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shaking Hands

The question was asked:
"Does a woman still extend her hand first to a man when shaking hands?"

According to Cynthia Lett, a certified Protocol Professional,

If you are in a business situation, you extend your hand to a woman just as you would to any man. In a social situation, you extend your hand to women your age and younger. Wait until an older woman extends her hand to you. Social situations are weddings, dinner parties, out with friends and family. If business is any part of it, it will be a business situation and men and women are equal in business. In social situations, age and gender do make a difference. Older women have the highest stature.

Traditionally, when two people meet, it is socially etiquette for the person with the higher rank to choose whether or not to shake hands.

Judith Martin, in Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior writes, "the higher-ranking person-socially this means women before men, except in the case of presidents, kings, or popes, and the greater age and more exalted positions before the younger and less significant-either sticks out a hand or doesn't." The lower-ranking person shouldn't be the one to initiate the handshake. But if that should happen, Miss Manners says to go ahead and shake anyway. "The worst error is to pass by a hand that has been extended, however erroneously."Robin Thompson, owner of Etiquette
Network and the Robin Thompson Charm School, says. "In business nowadays, we don't make a distinction based on sex. Socially, yes, it's nice to perform common courtesies, but in business, women should be treated as equals and women should shake hands. A lot of men think this is a gray area because they were brought up to be respectful and courteous to a woman, and not shake a woman's hand until the woman offers hers, and so forth. In business, preference is given to rank. So if the CEO is a man, and the woman is a junior, then he should extend his hand first."
Courtesy of: http://www.essortment.com/articles/how-shake-hands_4886.htm

With this in mind, church protocol would be different in an evangelical setting as opposed to a more traditonal setting. Charasmatic and Pentecostal churches are based on a "family" atmosphere and freely greet before services begin and after the invitation. Many pastors prefer the congregation move their greetings to the foyer after the service as a courtesy of some who may be praying or meditating after the message. In either case, the greeting handshake does not fall under the business protocol but under social protocol.