What Your Handshake Says About You

What Your Handshake Says About You

A handshake is more than just a greeting. It is also a message about your personality and confidence level. In business, a handshake is an important tool in making the right first impression. Yet there is a way to make your handshake memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The “Fish Hand”

If you’ve ever been offered a limp hand, you’ll know how it got the name ‘fish hand’. A hand offered without conviction or without a reasonable grip is not a handshake. It’s just a hand. It makes the recipient want to wipe their hand as soon as you let go (another faux pas… no matter what). Remember to return the grip fully. Practice with people whose opinion you trust.

The “Vise”

If the person you’ve shaken hands with has to resuscitate their circulation after letting go, or their knees start to buckle, you’re squeezing too hard. Imagine you are opening a door handle and use about the same level of grip in your handshake.

The “Mute”

If you extend your hand without saying hello, you’ll either appear very nervous… or overly aggressive. Remember to introduce yourself at the same time as you extend your hand.

The “Marathon”

Holding on for more than three or four seconds can make the other person uncomfortable. Make sure you only pump your hand two or three times and let go. A business handshake should be brief and to the point and should be over at least by the time the oral introduction is over.

The “Wrench”

If you shake from the shoulder, you’re being overbearing and you risk jolting your handshake partner. Just use your forearm. The idea is to connect, not overcome.

“Lady Fingers”

A business handshake is not a time for women to show they are the “weaker sex”. Women’s rules are the same as men’s. Extend your entire hand, and be sure to grasp using your entire hand as well, not just the fingers. “Lady Fingers” is reserved for those whose hands are about to be kissed.

The “Two Fister”

If you’re just meeting someone for the first time, use just your right hand. Two hands should be used only if you know the person extremely well, haven’t seen them for a long time and have a jovial relationship. The use of two hands with strangers is intrusive and too personal. In fact, a two-handed shake is called the “politician’s shake,” because it appears artificially friendly when used on people you barely know.

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