However we seal deals these days, one thing is for certain, it’s rarely with a handshake.
Along with cheek kissing, hugs and high fives, they are no longer the natural order, replaced instead by fist bumps and elbow taps.
But new research from Premier Inn which involved 1,000 professionals from the UK and Germany, has revealed it’s not merely a question of swapping like-for-like as the post pandemic world has given rise to new levels of awkwardness.
Over half admitted they had made a greeting faux pas in the past, and whilst they won’t miss having to choose between one cheek or two, face-to-face greetings are still causing uncertainty, especially now health issues are involved.
Body language expert, Allan Pease, said handshakes can cause social discomfort in up to three different ways: Invading personal space, physical touch and hand squeezing, which can be used to indicate either aggressiveness or weakness.
Greeting trends – the ups and downs
Fist bump +9% increase in popularity
Elbow tap +8%
“Changing our body gestures, especially something as established as the handshake isn’t something that comes naturally,” he said.
“There will be a conflict in people as they greet each other face-to-face once again, weighing up the old way of doing things versus protecting their personal space.”
He suggests a alternative may be the so-called ‘Heart Hello’ which involves placing a hand in the chest while smiling and bowing slightly.
“Variations on this type of greeting have appeared everywhere throughout history, thanks to it being very simple and achieving several things – it makes the other person feel welcome and accepted, it maintains physical distancing and it’s disease-free. It also allows you to read the other person’s body language signals, which is difficult in an up-close handshake.”
Tamara Strauss, Premier Inn’s Global Customer Director, thought the Heart-Hello was a “brilliant alternative” suggestion, adding: “It is definitely something we will share with our teams and that we hope helps people to rest easy and feel more comfortable whilst navigating this tricky time.
“We are excited to be welcoming back more guests who are travelling again for work into our hotels and we completely understand there may be some apprehension.”
Number of corporate deals falls for first time in four years