Handshakes are the ultimate greeting. A handshake is the physical link between two people, and the physical greeting that goes with our words. We notice people non-verbally by their touch, and the way we touch someone in both social and business situations – that is appropriate and customary – is with our handshake.
A handshake reveals a great deal about a person, such as their personality, feelings and motivations. It also conveys one’s attitude toward others. Every time we extend our hand to shake another person’s, we are being evaluated or judged by our handshake – and vice versa.
We know a good handshake and bad handshake when we receive one. Have you evaluated your handshake? Do you know what it is revealing or conveying to others about you? It is important that you do – so practice! Shake hands with someone that you trust and ask them for their feedback.
In any business or social situation, you should feel perfectly at ease shaking hands with whomever you meet. In order to leave a positive first impression through your handshake, and to elevate your professional presence, it is important that your handshake is firm because a firm handshake speaks loudly about credibility, confidence and professionalism.
Here are 10 power points for handshaking to ensure you are able to master yours:
- your right hand should always be free so you are ready to initiate a handshake or receive a handshake
- your left hand should only hold one item if you are at a networking event, such as a beverage glass, a cocktail plate, or item of food with a cocktail napkin
- to initiate a proper handshake, extend your right hand with the thumbs up and fingers out – in a vertical position
- don’t extend your hand with the thumbs down and fingers curled
- meet another person’s hand web-to-web
- grasp that person’s hand
- shake the person’s hand from the elbow, not the shoulder or wrist
- shake your hands up and down a couple of times – two smooth pumps
- always face the person with whom you are shaking hands square on in a shoulder-to-shoulder stance and make direct eye contact as you are shaking hands
- protocol dictates that every meeting – whether social or business – begins and ends with a handshake.
When a person shakes hands easily and often, he or she creates a favourable impression which influences others to shake hands. Apply the 10 power point tips above and you will be sure to master your handshake each and every time!
After 14 years working as a lawyer and law firm manager, Erin Crotty was ready for a change. Trained through the Protocol School of Washington and the Conselle Institute of Image Management, Erin is now a certified business etiquette, protocol and image management expert who has turned her passion into a thriving business – BloomStra Consulting, based in Ottawa, ON.
Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’.