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Greetings from Chicago!

The opening plenary session was excellent! Patti Wood, certified speaking professional and expert on body language, gave us a lot to think about. Did you know that it can take up to six months to undo a first impression?

Particularly interesting was her discussion on handshakes. Yes, handshakes. According to Patti, a handshake is the equivalent of three hours of face-to-face contact. Yet, she said, many people approach the handshake incorrectly. Many people directly extend the hand straight out toward the receiver with the thumb pointed upward. This, however, leads to a wimpy handshake. A better approach is to angle the hand and extend it as though it were a plane circling for a landing.  Doing so allows you to lock thumbs and connect palms with the other person and makes for a much more powerful handshake.

Not so excited about shaking hands? Patti says a “fall-back handshake” can include approaching someone from the left and lightly touching the person’s left forearm with the fingertips of your left hand. Research shows that this has some of the same rapport-building effects as the handshake.

And a little trivia…Patti reports that depending on the research cited, 80-82% of those who give “bone crusher” handshakes have low self-esteem. Hmmm….

There are many  other wonderful sessions scheduled for the rest of the conference. As Jane noted, there are so many that we can’t attend them all. In the spirit of sharing our knowledge, please post your comments here regarding what you learn in your sessions. Enjoy the conference!

~Paula and Kathy

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