The handshake has long been a common way of two making an initial connection. Not only is it traditional in many cultures when you first greet someone, but it also serves as a way to make that first initial skin to skin contact which begins the trust process. Yes, it invokes natural human feelings that are essential to building a relationship.
The challenge we have in this digital world is that our online introductions miss this vital step. It actually is more challenging to develop that trusting relationship since we have not physically met the individual we are now connected with online and we have not made that skin to skin contact that helps any relationship grow. This takes even more effort on our part to demonstrate who we are and that we can be trusted. I posted the question: What emotions are invoked when you shake someone’s hand over on my Socius Facebook page. A friend of mine Sarah Greenough responded back with “Depends on the handshake! Was it firm, droopy, sweaty or just right?” Her comment led me to think even deeper on how initial perceptions can determine the strength of a relationship.
Early in February, I was teaching a social media class for a client of mine Colors on Parade. We really dug into the emotions involved when building an online network and the effort it takes to get people to really trust you as a person and as a brand. When we meet someone for the first time and then connect with them online, the relationship is much easier and quicker to develop. When the opposite occurs much more time and consistency is needed to nurture that connection along. Going back to Sarah’s analogy, think of your initial connections and score your social media handshake. Think back to those handshakes that were so rough you thought your hand was going to fall off. Or perhaps the wimpy droopy handshake that immediately gave you the perception that this person has some conviction issues and a lack of determination in life. Then there is the sweaty handshake which creeps you out and makes you run looking for hand sanitizer. All of these are first impressions that will probably not be forgotten and perhaps may have damaged and inhibited any further contact.
Then there is the just right handshake. Think deeply on the emotional connection you made with that person and what it did for your current and future relationship with that person. Now translate that into how you shake someone’s hand in social media. What do you do to make it just right? This is where I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.
Sarah Greenough says
Great insight JS. It’s true that there’s the potential to miss out on the human connection with our “virtual relationships”. Since we cannot rely on eye contact and body language to cement our rapport, it does become more challenging to develop trusting relationship online – but it certainly isn’t impossible. I think we need to try and portray our personalities online with as many layers as possible – this way our virtual friends will start to have a fuller picture of who you are without the benefit of in person human contact. Good stuff Jonathan.
Jonathan Saar says
It was interesting when I was teaching this class how light bulbs when off in when we discussed this. There was the clinical, statistical approach to growing a network and then there was the human side. Being human obviously makes more sense. I like your layer point very much. When we are not afraid to show ourselves it makes that connection even easier and a lot more fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Sterling Ledet says
I think this is a critically important and much ignored idea in social media. It was important enough to me that I produced a video on youtube specifically to address this issue. I have a business welcome video too, but I use social media for a lot more than just business, so I wanted a video that introduces me as a person, not just a business person.
Jonathan Saar says
Very good idea Mr Ledet. Â That has been one of those ideas on my to do list and you have inspired me to make it a priority now. Â I certainly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and insights today. Â Have a happy Wednesday sir!Â