Handshakes are back

Despite what many people thought at the onset of the pandemic, the “ancient greeting” of handshakes was always going to come back. And it has.

Driving the news: Business travel has rebounded, so have in-person conferences. And corporate retreats have become more popular amid the rise of virtual teams.

  • At no point during meetings or events that I’ve attended in LA, Austin, DC or Cannes, France over the past two months did I hesitate to reach out and shake hands – nor did I sense hesitation from anyone else.

Why handshakes matter: More than just the return of a familiar custom, you get a sense for the person controlling that hand.

Case in point: My right hand was still throbbing hours after being painfully squeezed by someone I met for the first time at an event yesterday.

  • The message I received in the two to three seconds (along with a strong, locked gaze) seemed to be: I’m in control and you probably don’t want to mess with me.
  • Some context: As someone who has surprised other people with her own firm shake, the crushing I received yesterday was particularly noteworthy.

The big picture: The pandemic hasn’t technically ended, but people are clearly eager to get back to normal routines.

The bottom line: We can’t replicate what we learn from human touch.


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