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We are living in unprecedented times of change fueled by a modern world of globalism, communications, and technology. Just a few short months ago the economy was strong, unemployment was low, and optimism was high. Then we experienced a global pandemic that rocked the world at light speed.

As we blaze through this time in history, one thing is certain. No matter what industry you are in, post-pandemic will look different than pre-pandemic. One of the bigger conversations and questions that has received a lot of attention is about the handshake. What is the future of the handshake? Is the handshake something that we just do not need anymore? Why do we need it anyway? Will handshaking be part of the “new normal” or will this gesture of goodwill go by the trail of forgotten traditions?

I have heard people say that we can just fist bump or elbow bump or that we do not need the handshake anymore. If you think that shaking hands is nothing more than a polite gesture or common custom, then you might agree.

The handshake, however, is much more than a common custom or polite gesture. Your hand is wired with neuroreceptors to your brain. When you shake hands with someone, these receptors send feel good chemicals to the brain like dopamine and oxytocin in both people participating. These chemicals help the meeting to start off on a more positive note and are important to help people connect in business and build relationships.

You may think twice about extending your hand during this interlude in time. That is understood. It is my hope however, as we move forward, that the new norm may be that we all carry and use hand sanitizer and wash our hands more often.

Understanding the importance of the handshake and appreciating its neurological value may help us keep using this global tradition for years to come.

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