If you were to visit the Pergamon Museum in Berlin you could see large stone slabs depicting soldiers shaking hands dating back to the 5th Century BC, needless to say handshaking is a time-honored ritual practiced by millions of people all around the world. It is a powerful sign that tells a great deal about a person and conveys openness, trust, and equality. With all that at stake it would be wise to take some time and understand what makes the “perfect handshake.”
Have you ever been left with a lonely outstretched hand and your only option is to use your spy-like abilities to stealthy remove it from view? The answer is yes. It happens to the best of us, but these tips will help you avoid going into Bond mode and ensure your hand meets it match.
- Vocalize – No not “I will be shaking your hand in 3, 2, 1…” but a simple hello goes a long way rather than just a random hand placed in front of someone.
- Eye Contact – Always look someone in the eye when greeting them. It displays confidence on your end and lets the other person know they have your full attention.
- Location, Location – It may seem like common sense but many of us make the mistake of approaching our target from the side or while in conversation leading to “Hi my name is…put my hand back in my pocket guy”
- Smile – Many believe the handshake originated as a gesture of peace to show one was holding no weapons. In the same spirit smile to let the other person know you come in peace or you’re at least happy to see them.
Now that our approach is perfect it’s time to dissect the intricacies of the handshake.
- Just Right – The right hand has always been the proper tool for the job of greeting.
- Web 2.0 – One of the most irritating things in a handshake happens when Anxious Adrian grasps to early and leaves you defenseless. He has your 4 fingers on lock and your thumb gets no love. To avoid this always make sure the web between your thumb and index finger make contact with the other person’s before committing to the close.
- Firmness – Too firm and your just a dick not firm enough and you lack confidence. Aim for a comfortably firm handshake that is both inviting and re-assuring.
- Temperature – Cold, clammy, wet or sweaty are not adjectives you want in your handshake arsenal.
- Length – A good two or three pumps will suffice in any situation.
Handshake 501: Advanced Techniques
Advanced tips for the veteran handshakers of the world.
- Rejecting – If someone extends their hand to you, rejection should only happen when you risk spreading illness or because your hands are dirty for some reason. Example: grease from working on vehicle.
- Gloves – One should always remove gloves when shaking hands.
- Hosting – As a visitor to any one’s home (or other location that requires invitation) make it a point to shake hands with the host when arriving and departing. Conversely if you play host you should do the same for every guest.
- Drinks – Although not a necessity it may be prudent to get into the habit of drinking with your left hand. Simply for convenience, this leaves your right hand free to do its duty and helps you avoid aforementioned negative temperature adjectives.
- Fist Bumps, Hi-Fives, and complications – The only people you should hi-five or fist bump are children under the age 12.
Literally one of the first things you experience when you meet a stranger or greet an old friends. Handshakes are used daily and frequently. Paying attention to these tips will project a confidant, trustworthy, and friendly demeanor. Lastly, one should understand that the handshake is a western tradition and in many other countries different mannerisms may apply.