This week, I’ve been working in Italy and found myself doing something I do very rarely at business events in other parts of the world.

Hugging!

Yes, Italians are such a warm bunch and it seems physical contact is far more welcome when interacting socially – even when you’re interacting with people you don’t know that well.

This week’s experience reminded me to highlight some research that examined the preferred ‘interpersonal distances’ (the term psychologists normally use for this subject is ‘proxemics’) when interacting of almost 9000 people from 42 countries.

What surprised me most from the research was that Italians weren’t actually in the top 3 nationalities that preferred the least physical distance – those were Argentinians, Bulgarians and Peruvians – with Hungarians, Romanians and Saudi Arabians cited as the countries where most distance was preferred.

This week I haven’t therefore got a specific tip as such – instead, based on this research, I’m simple encouraging you to be aware of how close you are to others when interacting face-to-face. No doubt personal preferences are involved here but, as this research highlights, there are certainly cultural ones too.

I hope this is useful and I’ll be back next week with some more meetology® – helping you thrive professionally and personally by making people skills one of your superpowers.

Have a good 7 days,

Jonathan

Jonathan Bradshaw
Founder
The Meetology® Lab
@Meetology

References

Sorokowska, Agnieszka, et al. “Preferred Interpersonal Distances: A Global Comparison.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 48.4 (2017): 577-592

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