What Does Your Handshake Say About You?

Do you remember the last time you shook hands with somebody who had a very weak grip? What did you think about this person? Would you hire him? Would you feel comfortable to do business with him?

A lifeless handshake is usually interpreted as a sign of passivity, insecurity or even disrespect. A bone-crushing one doesn’t get positive points either.  In general, a warm and firm handshake helps establish trust between yourself and the other individual.

Do you know how others perceive your handshake?

Really, have you ever thought how you come across to others especially when you meet them for the first time?

No news is not always good news. Don’t expect the people whom you just met to tell you if there is something wrong with it. At the same time, even the people who know you well may be reluctant to break the news to you in case they hurt your feelings.

So, what can you do?

The best way is to practice your handshake with your friends and colleagues. Ask them whether it is too strong, too light or just fine. In this way you will be able to deliver a positive impression every time.

Here are some tips:

  • Stand up when you shake hands. If you stay seated, it diminishes your presence.
  • Be prepared to offer your hand first. It shows confidence.
  • Use your right hand, keep your palm vertical and match the other person’s grip. This allows your handshake to be on an equal basis.
  • Match the other’s person pressure. Remember though: it is not a power contest.
  • Make sure your palm is dry and warm. This is highly important. Nobody wants to hold a sweaty or cold hand.
  • Have plenty of eye contact and smile when you shake hands.
  • Know when to let go. If you remove your hand too early or keep it for too long, it may end up creating an awkward moment. Three seconds is usually ideal.

The bottom line: Your handshake says a lot about you. Make sure it conveys the messages you want. The best way to achieve this is to practice with your friends and colleagues.

Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker. She has worked in senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry for 12 years and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her b4iapply blog is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.

This entry was posted in Career Advice, Personal development, Professional development and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Does Your Handshake Say About You?

  1. Vipan Sood says:

    This is so important – leaves a lasting impression and first impressions are the only ones that usually matter. Thanks for sharing!

  2. grandeva says:

    Shaking the hand of someone with the “dead fish” handshake is a real turn off for me. I wish there was something I could say to that person on the spot that wouldn’t hurt their feelings to help them improve, but that type of handshake alone makes me think their feelings would be hurt no matter what I say.

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