Ever since I’ve posted the guide on avoiding handshakes (and tried each and every single method), I seem to have been caught in more awkward situations. Once I did the hand-over-heart gesture, and the lady still extends her hand. There must be better way to avoid something I don’t want to do.
Then recently, a memo was sent announcing a new female colleague. She will be doing her rounds getting introduced to everyone. Definitely some handshaking is going to take place. And I’ve got to figure out the ultimate way to get out of it.
I was still seated at my desk reading the memo when I saw the company rep walking towards my office. And with him, a lady who looks to be all chirpy.
A chirpy, jovial, and excited new employee. There’s definitely going to be some handshaking going on.
They were headed towards my office, nodding and smiling to whoever is in their line of sight. To those who stand close enough, a handshake is a inexcusable.
They walked, paused every now and then, and chatted to other employees. Once the customary introduction’s done, they continued their march in my direction.
Each step they took was a countdown.
I have to come up with something. Fast.
I can’t play dumb, they saw me. And they knew I saw them. Furthermore I’ll be all alone and cornered at my desk. I still haven’t perfected the hand-over-heart gesture; which usually – in my experience – leaves people walking away with an awkward look. And I actually prefer a more sanguine first impression.
I can hear their footsteps, meaning they’re just outside my door. Should I fake hand injury?
Without waiting for a reply, the office door immediately swung open.
It’s now or never. My eyes scanned the office. I see my stationery spread across the desk… My sight landed on my trusty ball-point pen.
Ah, the mighty pen. The mighty pen… Which unfortunately is rather useless at the moment. Unless if I use it to jab the lady’s hand. Yes, of course! That’ll spare me from an awkward situation. No, a voice whipered inside me. What are you crazy? Jabbing someone with a pen! Why, there’s a pair of scissors right beside it!
Wonderful sense of humor, my panicky brain.
“Hi,” a male voice broke the silence.
“Err, hi,” I said. I stood up and smiled at the two characters who just stepped into my office.
Good, I thought. Not yet an arm’s length.
My eyes stole a glance at my desk. Monitor… Hole puncher… Namecards… Paperclips…
They took another step forward. One more step to enter the “handshake zone”.
“This here is our new colleague, Miss X. She’ll be assigned to blah blah…” I looked at her and smiled, while my brain is racing to come up with some kind of evasive maneuver.
Namecards… My mind was on to something.
They took another step forward. An arm’s length.
She smiled, and I can see she was about to extend her arm. I quickly took one of my namecards and said,
“Oh so you’ll be working with them doing blah blah. I am xxx. And here’s my card. I’m a blah blah doing blah blah…”
Her extended hand naturally took my card.
The ultimate fool-proof tool to avoid handshakes at any cost. No acting, and best of all no explanations. (Image credit)
“So which project exactly will you be working on? Where were you at before this?” I continued with (honest) questions and pointed out my contact details on the card for – probably – future collaborations.
We talked, and a few minutes later they left. Sans the handshake.
So that’s the best tool to avoid any handshaking for whatever reason it may be. A namecard and perfect timing. And then talk.
Take some with you wherever you go. Whatever the situation, just make sure your hands are holding on to something. Like at a dinner party where a namecard is seemingly out of place, a plate of food on your left hand and a fork or your right would save you from the awkward handshake-avoiding moments.
And save the elaborate explanations when you know that person better.