Handshake Shocker

Tom Leu | 06 April 2015 | Psychology | 0 Comments    | 498 Total Post Views

handshake-shockerWhat has the world come to when common courtesy is no longer a commodity?

How bad must things be when a simple handshake… an offering or gesture to politely greet another person becomes a big deal and an ordeal?

In seminars I’ve led around the country on Developing Your Emotional Intelligence and How to Manage Conflict & Confrontation, I would deliberately perform what I came to call the “handshake shocker” first thing, every single morning as attendees entered the seminar room. It became a test of sorts. To my initial surprise, this simple attempt at proper etiquette everyday would produce a large percentage of people (approximately 50-60%) who would respond in some variation of the following:

They’d be visibly taken aback, though they’d desperately try to hide the look of astonishment on their faces. They’d involuntarily recoil slightly. They’d appear noticeably shocked, surprised, troubled, disgruntled, freaked out, frustrated, frightened, nonplussed, and a bit put off all at once. Quite a sight to see. Perhaps you’ve been there yourself?

This display of dismay over a simple extension of my hand to politely greet and introduce myself to you does not go unnoticed. Nor does it send a positive message. In fact, it sends a very negative message, whether you intended it to or not. It’s conveying: “I don’t trust you; I don’t like you; I don’t want to be here; this is an intrusion.” It may also be suggesting: “I’m scared; I’m skeptical; I’m projecting low self-worth; and I’m communicating that I’m not an effective communicator.” And finally: “I’m communicating to you loud and clear that I’m not someone you’d want on your team; I’m not a player; nor a force to be reckoned with.”

Wow, all of that from a simple reflex Tom? Yes, a simple split second snub, or handshake faux pas can communicate all of that (and more) to the recipient. The marketing of ourselves begins the moment we begin interacting and communicating with others.

the shiFt:

Learn where your weak spots are. Own them. Get over them. Strive to better understand your personality, and commit to overcoming your self-defeating tendencies to project your best self when it counts. It can be difficult, self-analytical work, but it’s what A-Players do. Do you?

Stay tuned-in…

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