A handshake. Such a simple gesture, and yet it can say so much. Beginning as a symbol of peace in the 5th century BC, the handshake quickly evolved to mean a greeting or parting, good sportsmanship, a business deal, trust, respect and so much more.
Sadly I have noticed a lack of handshakes (or at least heartfelt ones anyway). This has been painfully obvious when dealing with ‘youngers’ in business situations.
Why is that I wonder? Is it because we’ve become so ‘social’ that we no longer interact like we once did? Is it because as some doctors claim “we shouldn’t because you may get sick?” Is it simply that this next generation isn’t being taught the value of a handshake? I do not know the answers, I just know that it is not as common as it once was and I miss it.
Most recently I witnessed an exchange between a 20-something and an older ‘boomer’- The Boomer was arranging to do business with XYZ company and would be parting with Ten’s of thousands of dollars. The 20 something managed nearly the entire conversation with his hand in his pockets and not even a handshake by way of introduction, thanks or it’s a deal.
I was actually embarrassed for the gentleman when his extended hand was ignored.
(Had that been me, I may have reconsidered my options and taken my business down the road)
(Nearly every single person I went to grade school learned the value of a handshake at a very young age. It was taught at home as something you do.)
Experts at the University of Iowa have declared handshakes “more important than agreeableness, conscientiousness, or emotional stability.” Other studies show that a handshake improves the quality of interactions and produces a higher degree of trust almost instantaneously.
It doesn’t matter how expensive your clothes, your watch, phone or car are. If your handshake is bad or non-existent, your customers first impression will be diminished.
-A good handshake will do far more for you any day of the week.
A handshake is the number one, cost free, most powerful tool in marketing anything. It costs you nothing to smile and shake someone’s hand. A handshake is the beginning of a relationship in business. Hopefully a relationship that will continue for years!
**Let me just say right here that while us girls were also taught the importance, it was not necessarily expected. In some countries shaking hands with women is frowned upon. It is not personal- simply a cultural difference. Many women my age and older will shake, but we tend to do it with two hands- a ‘hand-hug’.
Your handshake is your word. It means something.