It’s particularly tricky for us Aussies, for whom a slap on the back will suffice. And, with The Grand Départ of the Tour De France in Yorkshire, the celebrations to mark the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare, The Ryder Cup coming to Gleneagles for the first time and Glasgow playing host to the much anticipated Commonwealth Games, an influx of tourists are anticipated in the UK for 2014.

To avoid red faces, nose bumps and accidental crotch grabs (you were going for their hand, we’re sure), Jurys Inn hotels ( has teamed up with behavioural expert Judi James, a favourite on reality TV Series Big Brother, to provide the perfect British formula on how to greet someone for the first time. And here it is people:

  • Always begin by making eye contact.
  • Take control and decide whether to go for a handshake, hug or an air kiss, whatever feels most appropriate considering the situation and your relationship.
  • Raise your hands from about three feet to announce which one you are going for.
  • If it’s a handshake, don’t let it last too long and keep it firm but gentle.
  • If it’s a hug, never let torsos touch when hugging someone you don’t know well.
  • If an ‘air-kiss’ is appropriate, you should touch both shoulders lightly and steer the other person to kiss right cheek to right cheek first, then left cheek to left cheek, but your lips should NEVER touch their face.
  • If you are greeting a group of people, every member of the group should be greeted in the same way, despite hierarchy or closeness. 

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