The Professional Handshake
During the important first few minutes of a new relationship, a handshake is usually the only body contact between two people. It can communicate warmth, a genuine concern for the other person and an image of either strength or gentleness. It can also communicate indifference and weakness. Developing a professional handshake is perhaps one of the most valuable business skills you can ever cultivate.The message you communicate with your handshake is determined by four factors.
Degree of Firmness
Your grip should be firm, rather than weak. However, you don’t want your handshake to be painful to the other person. Consideration is appreciated. Be especially considerate if you are shaking hands with someone in a receiving line who has many more hands to shake, someone who is wearing a lot of rings, or someone who is obviously elderly and perhaps fragile.
Dryness of Hand
We all prefer to shake a hand that is dry. While you typically don’t want to obviously dry your hands before greeting someone, this is perfectly acceptable if you have been holding a cold glass. Similarly, if you are at the buffet table and have been eating, it is expected that you would wipe your hand on your napkin before extending it to be shaken.
Depth of Grip
A handshake is palm to palm. Generally you will place your hand so that the web between your thumb and forefinger meets the web of the other person’s hand, briefly. Your hand remains perpendicular. If your palm is facing up, this may be construed as a sign of submissiveness. Similarly, if your palm is on top, it can be seen as a sign of aggressiveness.
Duration of Grip
The perfect handshake is about 3 seconds. You can gently pump once or twice but this is not necessary. Then pull back your hand, even if you are still talking.
Practice with your friends and be open and honest. A person with a weak handshake may be considered less memorable than a person with a f firm handshake. Remember a person with a strong handshake might be considered to be a bully. Be firm and moderate with your handshakes.
Never, ever remain seated to shake a person’s hand – Stand up, whether you are male or female. It shows respect.
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