I started fist bumping people a couple of years ago. One of the very first times I tried it was in a business meeting after having started my first venture, efficientLogix, through CBET(Center of Business Entrepreneurship and Technology). I remember my hands being a bit sweaty (an understatement, really!) right before my pitch – Hey! I was meeting some Venture Capitalists and I was very nervous about shaking their hands!
John, my mentor noticed how uneasy I was and gave me one of the best pep-talks I have had in a while. He told me three things that day which I still remember to date:
- First, write down all the things that you are nervous and afraid about before you do something big and ponder them carefully (you’ll notice you are worrying too much…sometimes).
- Secondly, never mind how you make a first impression on others, as long as you make it a memorable one.
- Finally, people are actually a lot more open minded than you think.
Hence, having been fuelled by his last two statements (don’t ask me how), I started my fist-bumping journey.
I have substituted my handshakes with fist-bumping for the past two years. I recognize the huge argument surrounding the professionalism of fist-bumping and one should always have a firm hand shake when they meet someone new and so on. However, I respectfully disagree! More than 95% of the people who I fist bump seem to have a positive reaction to it. Recently, I fist-bumped someone and he immediately said to me, “When you meet someone who introduces himself with a fist bump, he has a lot of guts since it can be perceived as juvenile or, hopefully, someone who really know what he is doing; a very approachable person”. You can guess what happened next. I have made some great friends and mentors just by fist-bumping.
In my role as the Marketing Director of TEDxUW 2011, I met with some really cool and important folks every week with Prashanth, TEDxUW chair. I used to greet every one of them with a fist bump and I remember Prashanth being a bit uneasy about that. On one such occasion, someone else present during this discussion responded on my behalf. His words were, “Who are people going to remember, someone who simply follow the norm or someone who dared to be different?”
Additionally, if I may, fist bumping can be thought of as something that creates an atmosphere of fun and friendliness even in a business type of setting. It did this for me when I was pitching for my first venture. It immediately opened up room for my confidence to shine and I saw hints of smiles right before I started my pitch. There is saying that goes something like: “some of the most important deals are actually done in the golf course rather than in a board room.” Why do you think that is?
Some people are so used to handshakes that they simply cannot think of doing anything else. Definitely use your judgement when it comes to deciding when to fist bump and when not to. However, feel free to express yourself a little. What started out as just for fun and curiosity has almost become my way of life and a ritual for meeting people and building new relationships. Sometimes, daring to dream and doing something different might just be worth the shot.
In my next post, I will talk about 9 reasons why I fist bump.