World Without Handshakes

Handshake of business partners. Business handshake. Successful deal. Vector flat style illustration

The handshake is over sixty million years old and has been practiced by gorillas and chimps, as well as Homo Sapiens. This ritual signifies hello, goodbye, goodwill and respect. Since the handshake establishes a primal, emotional connection, how would we all feel if it went away?

CBS Sunday Morning recently devoted a segment on handshakes and the changes brought about by the C-19 pandemic. It made us think about 'eyes' as an alternative. When engaged in Zoom, or other remote sessions, make sure you look directly at the attendees. Adjust your laptop camera or webcam so it’s at eye level, as it would be in normal conversation. Be expressive, as though you’re speaking through your eyes.

Your 'voice' is another aspect of the new ‘handshake’. Maintain a natural cadence, which is neither rushed nor slow. Don’t cool down your delivery, or affect a professorial tone. Keep the snap you normally exhibit in a lively conversation, so that your voice quality is as interesting as your content. And to quickly establish trust, make your voice warm and empathic.

When we return to in-person contact, including handshakes, remember your eyes and voice. There’s no better way to feel more connected to your entire human system. The goal is to exude the confidence, connection, and respect of a firm handshake.

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