Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Origination of the Handshake

We do it every day. Sometimes 20 times a day. But how many of us actually know where the handshake originated? According to author/speaker Melvin Murphy...

"The handshake has origins more anthropological than historical. Because they carried knives, spears, and rocks, when land was scarce and sacred males would extend their hand to show that they were not attempting to kill their neighbor. To add to that, the classical Greeks were under the impression that the right hands were mysteriously connected to the heart.

The Greeks may not have been very far off point. The handshake is a symbol equivalent of a promise. It becomes a virtue of the word and value of the person extending it. It is an agreement sealed with honor before the lawyers get involved. The handshake is a very valuable tool and, since in business often the communication is one-to-one, it’s flexible and indicates that an agreement has been reached on current dealings. It says that all information and intentions have been disclosed so that the value of the handshake is not diminished. The lesson here is that the handshake historically has carried symbolic importance. It is good to know what your handshake is worth. It’s your word and it says you can deliver on your promises."

(This excerpt comes from Melvin's article, What's In A Handshake?)

If you ask me, I still prefer high fives. But what can I say; I am a child of the 80's!


What type of greeting do you prefer?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag