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Why your handshake is a character indicator

I have heard through the grapevine that a certain potential presidential candidate in 2012 has a weak handshake. Why is your handshake so important? The handshake may appear little more than a formality, but it is also a view into the personality of the person on the other end. The strength of contact can quite literally be an indicator of character.

A firm handshake is vital; I certainly find it makes a strong impression on me. If someone in a powerful position offers me the limp lettuce or a wet fish, I always question how they got where they did, and wonder where their weak point is.

One study on handshakes showed that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. The researchers also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly.

Remember that you are being judged on your handshake whether consciously or subconsciously, so make it count. And if this doesn't convince you, then how about prolonging your life. The strength of your handshake could be a clue to how long you'll live, say scientists from University College London. They matched older people's balance, grip strength and ability to get up from a chair with their risk of an earlier death. Those who did best were likely to live longer, the British Medical Journal.


About Public Image


Public Image has a unique approach to building individual and corporate achievement. Business etiquette, creating a positive image though posture and dress, soft skills, communication proficiency, personal branding and networking expertise are key elements in the Public Image approach to developing professional skills.

Projecting a positive image for business will give you an edge in today's competitive market


Wot does dis txt say abt me

I have a confession to make - I’m firmly old school. I enjoy music from the seventies, movies from the eighties and the WWF before it became WWE. I also try as much as is humanly possible to write in complete sentences whether texting or emailing. It literally takes me five minutes to write an SMS as I'm incapable of using text language.

Modern technology has been responsible for many changes in our lives but has it also led to the demise of the properly written word.

Short messages like twitter have also done much to malign the written word. I received a text that other day that went like this. Tks 4 d msg I cnt CU 2mrw I hav 2go 2C my bro. Can you decipher that? And this was supposed to be an official response to my setting up a business meeting! I won’t quibble with someone dashing off a quick text to a friend on a non-business related matter saying R U there instead of are you there – I am not that pedantic.

But when communicating for business, what message are you sending by txting lik dis? What does it say about your professionalism and your personal brand in general?


Recent Happenings


1. Public Image Session with Branch Managers at Diamond Trust Bank
2. British Council Leadership Forum Keynote Presentation on Soft skills
3. Soft Skills and Image presentation at the Forever Living Products - Success Day Programme
4. Public Image Session with Telkom Orange Sales Staff at their Synergy Training
5. Wrapped up training the staff of TNT Worldwide Express
6. Talk at Westgate Mall on Fine Dining Etiquette
7. Watch me on the Fashion Show on Citizen TV every Sunday at 5.00pm
8. My corporate emcee profile is now listed on Fresha Events Agency website at


Remaining authentic when incorporating soft skills


On 18th August I gave a talk on the importance of Soft Skills to the British Council Leadership Forum. One of the questions that was raised during my Q&A was about remaining authentic when incorporating some of the soft skills as part of your repertoire in business. I want to elaborate a little on that.

This does not mean being a fake. You can be authentic and show who you are and also adapt people skills that will help you. Above all be above board and transparent with your dealings with people. Do let your personality come through you do not be to be straight jacketed into something you are not. But never forget we make immediate judgements about who we want to talk to on appearance and body language.

This is followed by how people sound, not what they are saying. The impression a person, a place or an organisation makes on you is very important; however, try to beware of jumping to snap decisions - especially about people. Some of us are better at evaluating our fellows than others, and although we should take notice of initial reactions they must not prejudice us against exploring further.


Brand Kenya image


There has been much ado about branding or re-branding Kenya recently. Articles by experts and opinion makers abound about what we need to do to increase investment, trade and tourism and even get citizens to rally behind a cause and change the attitude they have towards the country. 

What about those who carry our flag highest – our sportsmen, ministers, business travelers and cultural ambassadors. I heard a disturbing story recently about a Minister and his entourage who on a visit abroad at an official dinner broke many of the established rules of common etiquette and protocol. The group showed up late, drank too much, were dressed inappropriately, had 15th century dining manners, only talked amongst themselves - and these were only some of the most egregious examples by all accounts. It was an embarrassing spectacle for all present that included their host the mayor and leading businessmen from that city as well as the diaspora Kenyans invited. Our brand Kenya, took a severe dent that night.

The people skills so important for polished country ambassadors to grasp unfortunately were sadly lacking. Good manners and a great image in the international social arena cannot be overstated. Ask any tourist who visits Kenya and overwhelmingly they will say Kenyans are friendly and hospitable.

Is this the same image we have when visiting overseas? The good name we enjoy at home can be wiped out by boorish behavior or by a breach of etiquette. When you travel abroad, remember you are an ambassador of Brand Kenya. 

Read more on this article I wrote in the KIM Management Magazine in August

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