Get a grip, but not too hard.
That is the advice experts will tell you about proper handshaking technique. Some might think that something as trivial as having a great handshake isn’t that important, but they would be wrong. Studies have been conducted on handshaking. From job interviews, to business meetings, the handshake communicates more than you realize.
Communication is not just verbal; it is non-verbal too. Eye contact is the most famous of the non-verbal cues, but the handshake is just as important and often overlooked. I recently traveled out of state to give a presentation. I was being introduced to a lot people, so I couldn’t possibly remember everyone. But, I do remember the people who gave me limp fish instead of hands to shake. They are the ones who stuck out, not the ones who gave me a proper handshake.
A weak handshake screams, “I lack confidence!”
The saddest part is that people who are full of confidence can undermine their credibility with a weak, lifeless hand shake. It is awful that this one gesture can negatively imprint you on the minds of others, but it is one aspect that will really stand out in a first impression, good or bad. Impressions are tricky because they don’t rely on fact. They are more intuitive. Since our minds process so much information at once, sometimes it forms an opinion very quickly. That microprocessing means that we can feel a certain way about people without knowing why. That feeling will last long after our encounter.
Conversely, a vice grip handsake is equally as bad.
Too firm a handshake screams, “I’m overcompensating!”
Squeezing too hard is just as memorable and hurts more. As a comedian wrote in his post on handshakes, “You’re not trying to juice the person’s hand for their valuable blood essence, you’re taking them into your palm and exerting your prowess.”
I love that image of juicing. That’s what it feels like. Why would someone need to squeeze so hard? This nonverbal message suggests that they are trying to overcompensate for something else. Don’t believe that a death grip will help you seem more powerful. It just makes people see you as one who needs to be seen as powerful. Translation: insecure.
What is a good handshake?
A good handshake has several simple components:
- Web meets web. This means the skin between your thumb and first finger meets the web of the other persons hand.
- Firm squeeze. Be firm but not bone crushing.
- Pump naturally. There is debate about whether shaking is even necessary. Or how many times to shake. Find what is comfortable for you and go for it.
- Let go. It is important not to linger and hold someone’s hand captive. Holding on too long suggests a level of intimacy or familiarity that you may not want to convey.
A proper handshake communicates confidence, enthusiasm, sincerity, and warmth. The good news is that a handshake is very easy to practice. You can begin improving your first impression just by improving your handshake. Communicate your security and know how, just by your handshake.
Below is a video on how to shake hands and it displays poor handshaking techniques as well.
Have you ever given or received any of these poor handshakes? Leave your comments here!
For more resources on the importance of a good handshake, click on the following articles:
Why You Need A Good Handshake by Careerbuilder