Ah, the handshake. The handshake that is the 2nd or 3rd thing in which others will judge you. First in line is your visual image. What follows is often a handshake, your name, or both, as you introduce yourself.
Have you ever considered the importance of your handshake and the image it presents?
If your handshake is too strong, it may tell others that you are aggressive. Too weak and it says that you are a wimp. Neither handshake is appropriate. What you should be offering is a firm grip that neither overpowers the other person nor lays limp in their hand.
I had a client who sounded like a wimp on the phone. Upon meeting him the next week, I was prepared for a handshake that would feel like Jello. Oh, my mistake! Bob offered a firm grip which told me that his voice was not doing him justice. I later discovered that Bob lived in a home overpowered by women. After a few sessions, Bob got a voice that matched his handshake.
While I have certainly encountered other situations similar to that of Bob’s, more often I meet people who offer the ‘limp dish rag’ in greeting me. That sends the wrong message.
Your handshake is an extension of you. If you want others to take you seriously, then your handshake must be part of the package. I suggest you practice this with a family member or close friend. Grip the other person’s hand in a firm manner. Try this on both men and women. If you are squeezing too hard, it could hurt a woman’s hand especially if she is wearing a ring.
1. Make firm contact with your hand.
2. Feel the musculature in the other person’s hand.
3. Shake it gently two or three times.
4. Let go!
Part of the secret of a good handshake in business is not to hold on too long. This can be very uncomfortable and could send the wrong message as well. What your handshake should be saying is confidence. Isn’t that the picture you want to project in your business dealings? If the other person senses timidity, fear, or unease because of your body language, specifically your handshake, then the rest of your proceedings will be strained.
If you want to be successful in your career, in an interview, or even in your personal life, approach the other person or persons and extend your hand in confidence.
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