Coronavirus Conference Etiquette

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It’s flu season and now we have Coronavirus (Covid-19) concerns. What’s an attendee at a conference with 100s or 1000s of people supposed to do? Americans are notoriously physically interactive, hugs and handshakes abound. How can you, if you’re a little concerned, keep comfortable without offense?

Let’s go with the direct approach, hand is coming at you with friendship, or professionalism, lift arm, clench hand into a fist and just say “it’s fist bump season.” You’ll get a laugh, and plenty of understanding. You can also go with “how about elbows?” No need to explain yourself further, just dive into the conversation you were going to have anyway. Everyone is aware of the environment and honestly, if someone is super offended, you’re probably better off.

Now, what I’d love to see is bowing, embracing the bow provides all the respect and acknowledgment that a handshake does but really keeps you from the touching. I’m going to try this out over the next few weeks and see how it’s received. I’m sure some explanation will be required but worth a shot.

Last, you know the general rules, wash your hands, keep some hand sanitizer with you, and if sharing devices try and keep them as clean as possible. Stay safe and conference well!

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