Personal Space Etiquette

Avoid becoming the "Close Talker"

Posted by Liz Taylor Jan 21, 2014

Have you ever attended a networking event and noticed the person whom you were talking with repeatedly leaned away from you? Many invaders aren’t aware that they make other people feel uncomfortable by occupying someone’s personal space. When in doubt, the following rules apply:

  • Never touch anyone you don’t know.
  • Stand at least one arms-length from a person.
  • If you walk into an auditorium that isn’t crowded, leave an extra seat between you and the next person.
  • Never lean over someone else’s shoulder to read something unless invited.
  • Don’t put your arm around someone’s shoulder or slap anyone on the back unless you know the person very well.
  • Understand that most people aren’t comfortable hugging in a professional environment.
  • Don’t reach for anyone’s children, regardless of your intentions (same applies towards a pregnant woman’s midsection).

When someone gets uncomfortably close to you, casually lean away from the person or take a step back. Another option is to politely tell the person you are uncomfortable being so close and explain why you need more space.

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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