by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

Around Granger we train our guest services teams to meet people where they are. This includes allowing our guests to set their own “safety space.” So, we work at reading and responding to body language. Here’s a quick take on this concept from my book, How to Wow Your Church Guests: 101 Meaningful Ways to Make a First Impression (Group Publishing):

It’s really simpler than you think. Not everyone wants to have their hand shaken. Churched people want handshakes (unless there’s a flu epidemic, then no one wants a handshake); people new to your church may only want a courteous “hello.”  Read the body language of your guests to determine an appropriate greeting.

  • Both hands are buried deeply in his pockets. He doesn’t want to shake your hand.
  • A parent is holding tightly to their kids hands. Don’t offer a handshake.
  • Her eyes are focused on the carpet. She doesn’t want to make eye contact. Probably not going to shake her hand. You may not even get the opportunity to speak as she passes.

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