A silent yet powerful protest

How to ensure your hand isn’t left dangling in the wind

It could be any of the above but for people like my dad, by his own description a humble ‘bushie’, a regional Australian through and through, your handshake is your word. And your word ought to be strong, respectable and definite he taught me through his demonstration of a proper, bone-crushing (aka respectable) handshake versus a wet fish. Nobody (he told me) wanted to be seen to have a wet fish as a hand — “spineless” he may have added.

The humble handshake means a lot to folks like my dad. Perhaps that’s because it’s the only opportunity they have to veto — or not the human in front of them. My dad’s handshake was a demonstration of his respect.

If you’ve been following current affairs in Australia right now it’s likely you’ll be aware of the handshake incidents. Oh yes, the humble handshake has now moved up a notch in Australian culture claiming a newfound community power akin to a head turn, eye roll or stand up and walk away.

A silent, yet powerful protest.

Our new way of saying “mate…you’re not my mate…mate”.

While the handshake dodge isn’t a new maneuver it has suddenly put leaders of all varieties on notice. If you’re on the nose in any community you’d best get some practice converting that rejected shake into an outward wave, or a swoop through your hair because this, is the best current metric of your engagement in your community.

How would you / your company fair if it was you walking into a regional Australian community right now?

Stay tuned for some tips on staying engaged in regional communities…

Kerry Grace is a community engagement practitioner currently leading a regional development organisation in NSW Australia and managing her own company Evolve Group Network.

Kerry’s work focuses on sustainable small regional communities. She is a strong advocate of people leading the life that matters most (by their own definition), a mum and a big (read obsessed) fan of alpacas whom she adores to watch roaming on her hobby farm in regional NSW, Australia.

Kerry regularly blurts words about leadership, being a mum in business, self-care and adapting for an uncertain future. www.kerrygrace.com.au

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Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

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