Through my recent travels, I have often found myself wondering what has happened to the simple pleasantries of a good hand shake, the idea of looking someone in the eye when you speak with them and the concept of eating a meal without being buried in a phone or computer.
I am most disheartened by the disappearance of the handshake. Don't get me wrong, the handshake is still widely in use however, what passes for a handshake is what concerns me most. My wife looked at me, with that odd look only a wife can give, a couple years back when I started to show my boys how to shake hands. I continue to reinforce this concept to them every chance I get. This greeting should be firm yet not overbearing, it's not a contest of strength. However, I believe a proper grip can tell you a lot about a person and, conversely, a soft shake reveals the same. During this exchange, eye contact is necessary. Look the person in the eye, don't be distracted or let your gaze flounder. I am so tired of soft, weak handshakes with people whose hands tell me they have never done their own yard work. I have much more respect for a calloused hand.
Again, show some respect to others when they are speaking to you and look at them. All to often, I have sat in meetings and been speaking to a particular person only to have them bury their head in their IPad, charts, graphs or notebook. Hey, I'm over here...you may be much better at multi-tasking however, I took them time to prepare, you should take the time to look at me while we meet and, at least, let me think you are listening.
When I travel, I am a creature of habit. I stay at the same hotels, drive the same routes and usually order room service for breakfast and dinner. Recently, I have taken to going out, alone, for these meals and I am amazed at how many solo diners are buried in a computer of spend the entire length of a meal talking on the phone. What's happened to being able to sit down for dinner and savor a nice glass of Cabernet at the end of a long day? Aside from the fact that I think it's just downright rude to be on the phone in a restaurant, don't you want to enjoy that meal? Are you really able to taste what you are consuming or are you simply eating out of pure necessity?
As a society, we owe much to progress however, I put the cell phone, smart phone, IPhone or tablet into a different category. There are some real benefits to these devices however, the drawbacks outweigh the good. Is conversation becoming a lost art? Handwriting? Love letters? Birthday cards? The list is really endless when you begin to think of all that is changing as a result of "progress".
What else will be gained or lost as we continue to move forward?