Tag Archives: handshake

Will the Handshake Fall Victim to Corona?

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The handshake, as we know it now, is in danger of becoming extinct, much to the delight of some and to the chagrin of others. During this crisis in addition to practicing social distance, washing our hands constantly, not touching our face, we have been advised not to shake hands. Eventually, we will be able to gather with others socially and professionally. When we do, we may remember to wash our hands frequently. We may think twice before touching our face. But what will become of the handshake? If Dr. Fauci of the Corona Taskforce has his way, the handshake will be history. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Fauci.

I am not disagreeing with Dr. Fauci. I am wondering just how this will work. After all, we have been shaking hands for centuries. Mo Rocca of CBS interviewed an anthropologist who stated that the handshake dates back 60 million years. He said it is “a very primal sort of connection, very emotional.” He pointed out that chimpanzees and gorillas long for tactile contact and do much the same thing as humans. We all like that physical connection.

Throughout history the handshake has been a sign of peace and respect. We shake hands with our right hand. Some say that has its origins in medieval times. Knights used the right hand because that was the one that drew the sword. Engaged in a handshake, the knight was not able to draw his sword and strike.

Today we extend a handshake in both social and business situations. We offer our hand when we meet people, when we leave people, when we thank someone, congratulate someone or offer an apology. If that age-old practice goes away, what will we do? While there are options, one thing is for sure, there will be many awkward moments.

Before you head out into the world of the “new normal’, decide how you want to deal with the issue and plan what you will say. If you choose to remain a fan of the handshake, don’t assume other people are. You might approach by asking people how they feel about shaking your hand. If they don’t want to engage, assure them that you understand. If you are anti-handshaking, say so right away. You might say, “Please forgive me for not shaking your hand, but in light of all we’ve been through, I am not comfortable doing so.”

Some people are turning to the East for guidance and choosing the Indian greeting Namaste. You bring both hands together and center them in front of your chest. Then make a small motion to bow while saying Namaste. In the Japanese tradition, the bow is another choice for staying germ-free.

One more greeting is simply holding up an open hand to others. That signals that you are not going to shake hands. It is generally readily understood. Just make sure your open hand doesn’t come across as “Whoa, back off.”

In case you end up shaking someone’s hand because it’s such an ingrained habit, pause before dousing yourself in hand sanitizer.

I have omitted the fist bump and elbow bump from my list of professional greetings. Need I say more?

Good manners and etiquette are about making people feel comfortable. Keep that in mind when you decide how to deal with shaking hands in a world that the Corona virus has changed forever.

Is the Handshake Dead ?

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HandshakeThe handshake has long been a social tradition. Across the globe people shake hands. They do it in greeting, congratulating, thanking, appreciating, confirming and departing. Now in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association there is talk of banning the handshake in the healthcare environment.

The reason that JAMA is suggesting a ban on shaking hands is to stop, or at least slow, the spread of many infectious diseases. Physicians traditionally shake a patient’s hand when greeting the patient and when leaving the patient. It is way of putting the patient at ease and establishing rapport.

Now that it has been discovered that the deadly MERS virus was spread from one individual to another through a handshake, there is even more attention being given to this longstanding social custom. JAMA is suggesting that all healthcare environments be declared “handshake-free zones” and that signs be put up notifying patients and their families. The wording goes something like this: “Handshake-free zone: to protect your health and the health of those around you, please refrain from shaking hands while on these premises.”

There are already individuals who refuse to shake hands, even in the business world, for fear of spreading germs. However, in doing so, these germ-a-phobes run the risk of insulting other people and losing business.

The debate has just begun. I think we are going to hear a lot more on this subject. For now I agree with Dr. Dave Hnida, CBSDenver.com blogger, that common sense and personal hygiene are what we need to consider. Washing your hands frequently and using hand-sanitizer are already proven ways to preserve an important social custom and prevent the spread of disease.

What is your opinion on the issue of the handshake? Is it to shake or not to shake?

Keep on shaking and washing your hands!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Interview Etiquette for the New Graduate

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It’s May—typically graduation month. Are you one of those who will be donning a cap and gown and walking across the stage to receive your hard-earned diploma or do you know someone who is?  Given that the next step after graduating is finding a job, I have some business interview etiquette tips for the new grad facing those challenging job interviews.

Current job seekers have lots of competition. There are literally hundreds of people vying for the same position. While most people think that their education, their skills and expertise will land them the job, studies show that is not necessarily so.  Those factors are important, but another that is often overlooked is proper interview etiquette.

The idea might seem outdated, but adhering to certain standards still plays a significant role in business.  Over and over we hear that what sets most interviewees apart from their competition are their personal skills.  A knowledge of interview etiquette and good manners are the keys to standing out from the crowd.

People do business with people they like and interviewers hire candidates they like, If you or that new graduate you know want to be the candidate of choice, I have some suggestions.

Start by arriving on time. That means showing up 5 to 10 minutes prior to your appointment. If you arrive earlier than that, wait out of sight. Arriving too early can be an intrusion.  To make sure you are on time, find the location ahead of time. Make sure you know where you are going, how to get there and how long it will take.  The interviewer does not want to hear you apologize because you got stuck in traffic or worse yet, got lost.

Leave your cell phone in the car. I realize that for some people the thought of being separated from their cell phone for even a minute is terrifying.  Trust me, you can do it. It is the only way to insure that your phone will not ring during the interview.  I know. You think you will simply turn it off, but how many times has a phone rung when it was supposed to be turned off or on silent ringer?  We all know the horror stories and the interview is no time to be the main character in yet another cell phone tale.

Practice your business handshake.  That would be the good firm one that impresses the interviewer.  If you aren’t sure that yours is impressive, try it out on family and friends. Keep in mind that when you shake hands, you want to make contact web-to-web with the other person’s hand, step in, smile, make eye contact, call the person by name, give two quick pumps, let go and step back.

Dress professionally and appropriately.  A simple rule to follow is to dress up a notch or two from what you normally wear, assuming that your usual attire is not blue jeans and a tee shirt.  Take the time to research the dress code for the organization where you have the interview and again, dress up one notch.  Pay attention to your grooming, and always, always, always make sure your shoes are in mint condition.

Say “thank you” three times.  Thank the interviewer in person at the conclusion of your meeting; follow up by email; and then send a handwritten note. Interviewers get hundreds of email on a daily basis, but they rarely receive a personal note.  You will definitely stand out from the crowd when you take the time to write your thank you.

Following the basic rules of business etiquette can make the difference in whether you get the job or not. Keep in mind that good manners are noticed more by their absence.

My book, Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits, covers all you need to know about business etiquette.  It’s the perfect gift for anyone setting out on the job search trail. Perhaps you would like to give one to yourself.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.