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A Firm Handshake

November 19, 2010

A Firm Handshake

Among other things my Dad taught me, like changing a tire, a firm handshake was at the top of the list.  Now I understand why. A handshake can say a lot about you plus they are the only consistent physical contact we have in the business world. They happen first, so they set the tone for the entire relationship. People make an immediate judgment about your character and level of confidence through your handshake.  There are several types of handshakes but you want the one that conveys confidence, sincerity, and professionalism. It’s like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes through all the “bad” handshakes — wet noodle, fingers-only, bonecrusher, etc. Here are some tips for when you shake someones hand at your next business meeting, interview, or casual introduction you give off the impression you want to.

Tip #1

The proper handshake should be firm, with an energy that communicates sincerity, strength and professionalism.

Tip #2

Make sure you have proper form. Extend you arm outstretched with your thumb up. Make sure your hands touch web to web and then give just two pumps.

Tip #3

Don’t give a “wet noodle” handshake. A handshake that is limp or lifeless gives out the impression of timidity, passivity, or intimidation. EVEN if you are intimidated don’t let your handshake give it away!

Tip #4

On the other hand make sure not to squeeze or shake too hard. Your handshake should be firm not painful!

Tip #5

Don’t “glove shake” unless you really know someone. “Glove shake” is when you shake someones hand with both hands. If you don’t have a strong relationship this can make a person feel uncomfortable.

Tip #6

Eye contact. Eye contact. Eye contact. Back to tip #1 you want your handshake to communicate sincerity, strength, and professionalism.  How sincere is it if you shake someones hand without even looking them in the eye?

Tip #7

Practice! Find someone you can practice with until you get it down. My Dad made me shake his hand several times until I had the proper form, firmness, length, eye contact all with a smile on my face.  Even if you think you have your handshake down it is always good to test it out with someone who will be honest with you like your boss, co-worker, best friend or yes even Dad. They can tell you things that you may not have noticed before.


I hope these tips helped and remember you always need to practice because as silly as it sounds a handshake does say a lot about you!


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