“I don’t think we should ever shake hands again,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci last week in the Wall Street Journal.

If the head of the USA’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ advice is taken, it will be a paradigm shift. Shaking hands has been the “de facto greeting in international business, politics and society for the better part of a century.”*

Just last week a client and I were discussing the best practices for creating, building and maintaining rapport and credibility with prospects. We talked about how a firm handshake has been a “must” and that touch is the strongest form of nonverbal communication.

Not anymore.

What will replace the handshake? It will not be an elbow bump. You sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm if you don’t have a tissue. It will not be a foot tap for fear of losing your balance. It will not be air kisses, high fives, or The Star Trek-inspired Vulcan salute.

The ‘eyes’ have it. For now.

At least during this Covid-19 era and while you are wearing a mask, your eyes will be doing even more than they usually do to convey connectivity. Your smile is concealed, your eyes are not. When you greet others, maintain strong eye contact. Continue to smile – your smile will increase your proverbial “twinkle in your eye”.

Our Speak For Yourself® prediction on the replacement of The Handshake long-term: a modified Namaste gesture, along with positive/warm eye contact.

“Other ways of greeting are more conventional than shaking hands,” says Kanina Blanchard, a professor in management communications at the University of Western Ontario. She continues, “… in China, in India, you have half the world’s population for whom, yes, many people shake hands – but everybody does something other than shake hands. As places like China, the Middle East and India become increasingly influential in the world of global business, customs in those cultures could become the international norm.”

Picture me ending this blog conversation with a masked smile, a gleam in my eye as I look at you, and a slight bow, holding my palms together – showing a motion of respect.

*https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200413-coronavirus-will-covid-19-end-the-handshake

© 2020 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved     

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Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker

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