Friday, November 21, 2014

How to shake hands

We live in the electronic age, and one of the side effects is that our relationships with other humans has been fundamentally altered.  We now link up regularly with people around the world via email, Facebook, Twitter, Video Teleconferencing and (still) the telephone.  While this offers a lot of positives, one of the detriments is the lack of actual human contact.  You could theoretically go through the day without having any real meaningful human contact.

And yet, despite the attempts by bureaucracy to enable "leadership by email," it's still amazing how much can get done by actual interaction.  I have responded to emails by stopping by someone's desk, often to their surprise.  In almost all cases, I get a better response from them and much more work accomplished.  I don't think we'll ever replace actual human contact.

So it's important to do some things right, and the handshake is one of those.  It's easy.  When you shake someone's hand, aim to connect the "webbing" between your thumb and pointer finger with their webbing, look them in the eye and smile. Done.  Despite the ease, all too often I get a limp wrist or some dude trying to prove his manliness by breaking my hand.  Wrenching my hand into pieces doesn't prove anything, and being overly gentle makes me think you're a wimp.  A solid handshake starts off any meeting correctly.

A nice comic is available here: