Saturday, 30 June 2012

Handshakes and exchanging business cards Business etiquette

Upper floor of London Olympia's Grand hall,
 at Marketing Live 2012
 notice the wonderful Victorian iron railings
See photo below of what the other side of the red roundels depict
I was surpised when visiting the stands at Marketing live 2012 this year how many visitors or exhibitors had not prepared themselves to have business cards on their person for work.

 I overheard a number of instances where either the exhibitor , the visitor or both , apologised for not having a business card on them.

There are of course those visitor badge scanners. They are more a  Customer Relationship management (CRM)  data capture method rather than a courteous welcoming introduction method.

I accept that the laser beam takes information off the bar code or QR code on my visitor's badge but I always feel that I am being 'branded' like a cow or sheep at a farm when they aim the gun( reader) on my badge.!

Close up of the iron railings on the upper floor at London, Olympia's Grand Hall
Perhaps this 'branding' is actually very in keeping with  the  'Marketing live' show   which is much about 'branding' in the marketing sense and held in a hall space which was originally an Agricultural Hall hence the grain sheafs depicted in the Victorian Ironwork roundels.

I feel that sometimes some stand exhibitors did not want to shake hands but get straight to the bar code reading gun bit, like an eager adolescent on their first experience with a paint balling gun .

Engagement on a stand seems increasingly to becoming an impersonal mimickry of a virtual reality 'conversation' or computer war game simulation. "Friending" and "defriending" I suppose is how many see business engagement nowadays.

Handshakes have been around for a long time but are they going out of fashion I wonder ?.

One of the earliest depictions of a handshake is that of Antiochus I of Commagene, shaking hands with Heracles 70-38 BC, in the British Museum.
We commonly shake hands  on meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement.

Antiochus 1 of Commagene 70-38BC
on display in the British Museum
( The hole is due to a later use as a agricultural press)

During the Euro 2012  we have seen soccer captains at the beginning of matches exchange gifts such as mementos / pennants/ plaques and shake hands.

Much in the same way in Business, we exchange business cards at the start of the meeting.


*The Buyers, views of Salespeople 2012 Data shows that exchanging business cards from the Buyers' viewpoint is seen always necessary 59%, Sometimes 38% and 3% never. So away from the exhibtion world handshakes are still expected.


Along with the exhange of a penant , a prize or a business card, we might also shake hands.
At award ceremonies such  as the film festivals of Cannes or the Oscars, the award winner will shake hands with the award presenter before accepting a trophy or award from the presenter.
Many hands will be shaken along with the presentation and acceptance of the bronze, silver and gold medals on the three step rostrums at the Olympic games in London in just a few days’ time.
Photo of  the Metro newspaper story
 of the historic handshake

The purpose of the handshake can convey trust, balance, and equality and so last Wednesday 27th June 2012 we had an historic occasion for reconciliation between a monarch and a republican in Northern Ireland.

This fortnight we will notice  at Wimbledon Tennis Championships the players at the end of a match going up to the net and shaking hands across the net, followed by walking up to the Umpire's chair and acknowledging the umpire usually with some grace ( but not always!)

Handshakes are also significant in business partiularly in sales engagement.

*The latest Buyers’ views of salespeople shortly to be published in full reveals that 91% of Buyers expect a handshake and consider it necessary with a salesperson.

*For information on the TACK Buyers’ Views Survey 2012

Of course shaking hands does not mean you  necessarily like the person particularly.

I knew a trainer colleague years ago who, at the end of a course, made a point of shaking hands with each delegate at the end of a course.

He would walk across the room extend his hand for a handshake and say to some of the delegates "" ( Their name) " I have been wanting to say goodbye to you" whilst shaking their hand..

 One could see that sometimes the recipient was not absolutley  sure how the farewell was meant.

 ie was it - you were such a great person I wanted to make my goodbyes  to you


 merely Good riddance to you!

Forgiving and forgetting ,if that is possible ,can at least be faciliated by a handshake in business as in Northern Ireland last Wednesday by a monarch and a republican last 27th June 2012.

Related Links
Business Etiquete

 Body Talking


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