There’s nothing more common than the handshake. It’s the universal form of greeting and a great way to make a strong first impression, but not too strong.
As for its origin, think – kings and castles. Whenever two knights would approach each other on horseback they would hold up their right arm as a gesture of peace and thus evolved the art of handshaking as we know it today.
How someone shakes hands speaks volumes. Here are some common handshakes and their conventional significance:
Fingertip Holder – prefers to keep others at a distance.
Bone-Crusher – betrays anxiety.
Political Handshake – (Hand over forearm) – not considered the most professional handshake; used with those you know well.
Sympathy Shake – “I am sorry for your loss.”
On-and-On – “Help!… where do I go from here?”
Dominant – (Do not enable this handshake!) Swing their right hand upright to the vertical position and with a gentle, yet firm squeeze, make good eye contact to be “well met.”
Clammy Hand –the “kiss of death!” that betrays anxiety.
Here is some advice on how to correctly shake hands:
- Shake hands like you mean it, like you want to be positively remembered.
- Connect “V” to “V” (thumb and index fingers) of our right hand with the “V” of the other person’s right hand. Pump one to two times; make eye contact.
- The No. 1 Rule regarding shaking hands: Whenever you shake hands, always stand as a sign of respect.
In different parts of the world there are different types of handshakes. It is appropriate and gracious to greet others in the form of cultural greeting to which they are accustomed.
Don’t shake hands with sunglasses or gloves on. You want nothing to interfere with forging the relationship. A disabled individual will usually offer you their left hand in reverse.
As for eye-contact, consider looking at the other person for one to two extra seconds (not 8 or 10!) as you shake hands. Former President Clinton is renowned for this and in so doing, makes others feel acknowledged, special.
Be at the ready for whatever type of handshake is offered. Keep a sparkle in your eye and make those you meet feel acknowledged and you will be remembered and stand apart in all positive ways.
No one is ever too old or too young to start shaking hands, and fabulous professionals should lead by example.