Know Your Boundaries
Our sense of personal space is central to our perception of security. Each of us has a ‘territory bubble’ of which we do not want others to invade unless invited.
Psychologists agree that there are 4 personal territory zones that operate in Western culture.
This is between touching and 45cms /18 inches. This zone is reserved for those who genuinely care about each other. Generally speaking, it is not a zone used within business settings.
Entering this space without permission can make the invaded person feel uncomfortable or threatened.
This can be broken into Far Personal and Close Personal.
FAR PERSONAL is 75-120cms / 2½-4½’ – the handshake zone. This is the comfortable distance for introductions and fact gathering. It may lead to permission to enter into the close personal zone.
CLOSE PERSONAL is 45-75cms / 18″-2½’ – think of it as the networking zone once introductions have been made and a degree of rapport has been established.
This is between 1.25-3.5 m / 4-12 feet across a room, or a piece of furniture eg, desk/table. At this distance the only contact you have is visual so it’s important to hold the other person’s eyes during any conversation.
This is greater than 3 meters / 12 feet and is typically the distance used for public speaking. Interestingly, we tend to give celebrities and people of status or authority a wider exclusion zone.
Understanding things like personal space is essential when developing a polished professional image. If your personal brand could use a little polish a professional image consultation will help you establish the brand reputation you’re seeking.
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