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Elbow-Bump physical distancing


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ignored expert advice, choosing the awkward elbow bump as his preferred replacement for the handshake in a poorly thought-out greeting with Josh Frydenberg in Parliament.

Incongruous with medical advice, the elbow bump breaks Social-Distancing and presents the opportunity to spread Covid-19 if someone has coughed or sneezed into their elbow.

Why The Elbow-Bump is a Fizzer.

  1. Australians are being told to sneeze or cough into their elbow, but also encouraged to use their elbow to greet others, potentially spreading the virus further through our community.
  2. As a replacement to the handshake, the Elbow Bump is a fail. When greeting someone face to face, using an elbow usually requires crossing the body away from the person you’re greeting. Authors of the Definitive Book of Body Language, Allan and Barbara Pease say this position is used when the other person would rather be heading out the door.

We move our bodies away from situations or people we don’t like, so starting a relationship or meeting by turning away from a person sends the wrong signal” says Barbara.

“Eye-Contact is an essential ingredient in creating a positive first impression and you also lose it with an Elbow-Bump” adds Allan.

  1. Elbows are a poor substitute for a hand, with awkward and unprofessional written all over it. Mostly, you will feel – and look – like a goose.  No-one perceives it as professional but more as a joke.

“You’re more likely to mis-fire and hurt the other person or show your sweaty arm pits. Our polls show that most people – especially women – don’t like the Elbow Bump – it’s unlikely to last in the future” says Allan.

The couple wrote directly to Morrison, his staff and all Australian Premiers imploring government officials to lead the country in a new COVID safe greeting, called the HEART HELLO.

“The HEART HELLO achieves several things – first, it makes the other person feel welcome and accepted. Second, it maintains physical distancing and it’s germ-free. And third, it allows you to read the other person’s full body language signals, which is not possible in an up-close handshake or any of its awkward cousins, such as the elbow bump” say the couple.

To perform this greeting gesture, you do the following:

1. Place your hand over your heart
2. Smile (with your teeth visible) and lean forward
3. Maintain eye contact with the person you’re greeting

Photo Credit: ABC news

Smiling with your teeth displayed is a gesture used by primates to convey they are non-aggressive.  Leaning slightly forward avoids you being perceived as dominant and maintaining eye-contact allows you to remain connected to someone while not appearing to be submissive.

Changes in our body language behaviour are usually subtle and it often takes generations to establish or modify gestures. In today’s unprecedented times of Covid-19, we have seen a dramatic shift in a matter of weeks of people’s perceptions in greeting each-other. And change is now being forced upon us because of this disease. It’s time for the Prime Minister to lead the country with a professional, long term solution to greeting.

The HEART-HELLO gesture perfectly replaces the traditional handshake and can bond you to others instantly, and even more effectively than a handshake.

The HEART HELLO is sincere, warm, germ-free, respectful and makes others feel welcome and accepted. You will not be perceived as being weak or submissive and you still have the opportunity to read the person’s entire body language.  It will give you the confidence you need in meeting new people and will remove the fear, uncertainty and awkwardness most people currently feel.

Scott Morrison’s lonely Elbow-Bump

Photo Credit: ABC news

How to get the HEART-HELLO started:

Tell your friends, colleagues and workmates how you will now greet them and why you do it this way.  Teach them how to do it to avoid awkwardness.  If a stranger reaches to shake your hand, simply perform the HEART-HELLO and say “Let’s avoid Covid!” and laugh.  This avoids uncertainty and embarrassment.  Explain why you are greeting like this – you’ll discover that most people are usually intrigued and grateful for your explanation.

When we emerge from the Covid-19 Pandemic, many people will be apprehensive about handshaking or may completely reject the concept.

Medical experts and world leaders are now telling us to refrain from these important Body Language behaviours.  American Dr. Anthony Fauci, says we may never shake hands again when life returns to ‘normal’ after coronavirus and the French president says no more kiss greetings for French people as this gesture has contributed to the number of deaths in France and Italy.

The Directors of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the USA say changing our greeting behaviour is difficult because shaking hands is the go-to method of greeting people and alternatives like fist-bumps and elbow- bumps can be awkward, especially in professional settings.

So, what is an alternative greeting that will make you feel welcomed and accepted while avoiding disease issues?

So far, suggestions include:

The Elbow-Bump: This is awkward, breeches physical distancing and we are also being told to sneeze and cough into our elbows!  And most people don’t take it seriously.

The Fist-Bump:  A macho gesture that still involves the transfer of germs.

Foot Tapping:  A gawky move that looks like a silly version of River Dance.

Hand-Waving: At close range, this communicates ‘stay away’.

Our polls have revealed all these alternatives are unpopular.

The world needs a new, long-term greeting solution – and we’ve identified it. We recommend the use of this powerful body language greeting which can be used universally, is disease-free, but still makes people feel welcome, accepted, and connected.

We call it the HEART-HELLO. And here’s how it looks –

See the Video Demonstration here:

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