You would probably expect your business lawyer from your Miami law firm to greet you with a cordial handshake if you’re getting together for a business meeting.
But the Miami Herald found that there are a variety of greetings business people use when meeting each other, dependent on their culture and the industry they work in.
In Miami, you are just as likely to kiss your client on the cheek as shaking hands when you meet, per the Herald. You might even kiss both cheeks, or do an air kiss.
A local etiquette expert said business is done a little bit differently in Miami than in other parts of the country. It is not uncommon for people to greet someone they just met and may never see again with a kiss.
Unlike in most of the rest of the country, it’s considered good manners, said Yvonne Salas, the director and co-founder of Etiqueta Excellence.
She said business etiquette often begins with introductions, and usually, people are told to shake hands, not get too close, and respect the other person’s personal space. But things are done differently in South Florida, she said.
Claudia Ahrens-Hernandez of The Etiquette and Social Advantage Institute and host of Univision’s “Cafe Con Claudia” said it’s the Latin influence that has made the Miami business culture more open with their gestures.
“Even in a business environment, among a group of Latinos, a kiss is something you do and you don’t even think about,” she said. Experts also said personal space is not a concept in Latin culture.
However, Judith Martin, also known Miss Manners, cautions against kissing and hugging in a business setting to prevent the recipient from misunderstanding the gesture and feeling harassed.
Salas tells her business etiquette students not to embrace or kiss a person the first time they meet, but suggests that in social situations they follow the lead of their host and hostess.