What now for the handshake?

For centuries the handshake has been the accepted form of greeting between business people, old friends and acquaintances. Now however, with the pandemic stopping all physical contact and asking people to observe a 2m rule, all greetings are ‘hands-off’. For those of us who have been greeting clients and contacts face to face with a handshake and then again when we part, this will be a really hard habit to break. The concept of ‘shaking on a deal’ has gone out the window also.

So, what else can we do?

Worldwide greetings

Looking around the world it seems that other cultures are going to have the same problem!

In Argentina, for example they greet each other with a single kiss; in France, a kiss on both cheeks; in Belgium, three kisses! Go to Africa and in Nigeria they snap their fingers whilst shaking hands, which looks very hard to do! Russians give each other a firm handshake (and maybe a bear hug) and in New Zealand the traditional Maori greeting is a rub of the noses!

Asia seems to have the best pandemic greeting with the Japanese bowing to each other and in Thailand they place their palms together at the chest and bow their had so that your hands touch your face.

The absolute best though must be in Tibet where they stick their tongues out at each other, a tradition dating back to the 9th century. Must try that one at my next meeting!

Formal Greetings

Perhaps we can use the British man to man greeting which is a slight nod as we see each other; very formal and definitely hands off, or the old tugging of the forelock – touching the forehead at the side – which harks back to lifting your hat to the ladies and your betters some centuries ago. All of these will save the blushes of those who hate shaking hands – remember the sweating palms effect you got before meeting someone you were keen to make an impression on – and also save your fingers from the overzealous power shaker who thinks crushing your fingers is a sign of strength!

Me? I think I will go for the combination of a slight nod and a small bow…