Richard Branson’s handshaking style, or lack thereof, is described in an article in The Independent as favoring “fist bumps and high fives over handshakes, saying they’re more hygienic – not to mention cooler”. It got us thinking, are handshakes just so last century?
Fist bumping or high fives may work with Sir Richard because he’s that kind of off-the-wall, over-the-top character. Frankly, we’d expect no less of him.
Branson’s anti-shaking policy is based on 1. way too many germs from a handshake and 2.way-too-many-people-recognizing-him-and-putting-out-their-hand-to-shake-his.
In a “medium-touch”culture like ours, Sir Richard has got a solution, but if it’s germs you are worried about then a “low touch” culture like Japan has got the real solution–the small bow. No touching.
Deciding on the high five or the fist bump probably requires a little navel-gazing–am I cool enough to pull it off? Fist bump away if you are a 350 pound linebacker, a 7 foot tall NBA player, a business superstar, or a man. We are thinking about the last time we saw a woman initiate a fist-bump… We couldn’t come up with anyone, except Michelle Obama. I guess if the First Lady puts out her fist, then you do the same.
But, for the rest of us, it’s best to stick with a handshake.
-Gayle Hallgren-Rezac is co-author of Work The Pond! (with Judy Thomson and Darcy Rezac) and Chief Engagement Officer at Shepa Learning Company
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