I’ve had the good fortune of working and socializing with people from a wide variety of cultures.

One of the challenges of such international interactions is that sometimes, I don’t know how to properly greet someone. Should I shake their hand, give them a kiss on the cheek, or bow to say hello?

If it’s a cheek kiss, is it one kiss, two kisses, or three?

I know this custom varies by country and nationality. For the life of me, I can never remember which one it is for which country… and sometimes, I don’t know the other person’s nationality just by looking at them.

When I’m unsure of the preferred custom, I gravitate toward letting the other person take the lead and just trying to match them. It probably isn’t ideal, but it seems to work fine.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m sharing this with you. There’s an idea here that’s worth noting. It’s the idea to…

Meet People Where They’re At.

If you want to connect with someone, meet them where they’re at.

This is true whether you’re trying to connect with a child, a boss, or a client.

If you’re saying hello to a young child, squat down so that you’re at eye level with them (meet them at the elevation they’re at) and say hello.

Anytime I see an adult do this, I can tell they know their way around kids.

If you have a client who thinks primarily in quantitative terms, translate your message into quantitative terms.

If you have a boss who thinks in conceptual terms, communicate your ideas with illustrations that convey the essence of what you mean (but don’t bury your boss in mind-numbing details).

If you have a professional acquaintance who thinks in narrative terms, take your chart-laden PowerPoint deck and translate that into a story.

One of the most effective ways to succeed in life is through relationships. A great way to start a new relationship (or to reconnect with someone you have a pre-existing relationship with but haven’t seen in a while) is to meet them where they’re at.

Let me know your thoughts on this by commenting below.

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