In business, who you know matters and first impressions are the longest lasting. That's why it's so important to make the best impression when greeting someone by using the proper business greeting etiquette, which will help guarantee you start your relationship right every time. Of course, because greeting etiquette around the world and even among different industries varies, be prepared to adjust your greeting slightly based on circumstance when necessary.
Standing when you meet someone both shows respect and physically puts you eye-to-eye, helping you to establish eye contact. If you're unable to stand for some reason, for example, you're trapped in the corner of a long booth and getting up would be impractical, offer an explanation. In this case, saying something along the lines of "excuse me for not getting up, but this seat doesn't exactly make for easy maneuverability."
Greeting etiquette when entering a room or when someone else enters a room dictates you smile and make eye contact with those you are meeting. This bit of body language starts a proper business greeting even before you make physical or verbal contact. These two gestures say that you are happy to see the person and interested in talking to them.
Don't wait for someone else to make introductions if you're approached by someone you don't know. Be sure to give enough information to let the person know why you two should be talking. For example, say, "Hi, I'm Daniel Rivers, I'll be handling your account for Business Corp," not just, "Hi, I'm Daniel Rivers."
As you give your greeting, extend your hand. Don't shake so hard you'll hurt the other person's hand. Keep your wrist firm, not limp as this makes the other person feel like they're shaking hands with a noodle and subconsciously makes them think you seem weak and unimportant. A handshake should last as long as it takes to state both of your names, any longer makes things feel awkward.
While women from some cultures do not shake hands, business women in America do and most professionals who do business with Americans understand that as well. Don't ever act awkward about shaking hands with a woman, however, if a woman from another culture doesn't shake hands back, gracefully pull your hand back and chalk it up to cultural differences.
It's easy to tune out when someone says their name, but in business, names are power. Always focus when someone introduces themselves and make an effort to remember his name. If you didn't catch someone's name, ask him politely to repeat it. Once you're sure of the name, make an effort to say it back to him, for example, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Smith, now let's talk about your accounts."
There was a time when it was important to distinguish between a Miss or a Mrs., but a woman's marital status should be irrelevant to your business purposes. As a result, it's preferable to always refer to a woman as "Ms."
In most industries, you should use the formal title and last name of the person you are meeting unless they tell you to use the first name. If the person is a doctor or has another formal title, use that title before their last name. If you work in a creative industry where the use of first names is standard, you can use the person's first name, but you may want to revert to the last name again if she continues to use your last name. When working with someone from another culture, use their last name unless they ask you to do otherwise.