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Chapter 6. Present Yourself > Treat Touching as Taboo

Treat Touching as Taboo

Except for shaking hands, it's usually inappropriate in business settings to touch your partner. Two people of the same gender and rank may find it comfortable to touch during a conversation. In general, though, it's either the female or the more powerful person who initiates touching during a conversation. If a woman touches, it may be interpreted as flirting. If a person of higher rank touches, it may appear to be an indication to his partner that he is pulling rank, trying to establish control, or even engaging in sexual harassment.

Unless you have established a special relationship with someone in which touching is acceptable, don't do it. And even if you have a warm relationship with someone, it's better to err on the side of formality in public—especially with someone of the opposite sex.


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