Did you know that your handshake speaks for you? It’s true. Your handshake is part of the non-verbal communication that people use to form an opinion about you. Your handshake is one part of the equation. You are also being judged on your appearance, your posture, and even your facial expressions. All of these help a person form an opinion about you and you want to make sure that opinion is a positive one. The handshake is the easiest of these traits to master.
Unless you are in a foreign country, the accepted greeting when meeting someone is the handshake. The handshake can be broken down into three parts — the initiation, the grasp and the motion. The initiation is about timing. Extending your hand too soon makes you look anxious; extending it too late makes you look indifferent. The grasp is about strength. Simply fit your hand into theirs and squeeze firmly. Don’t break the other person’s hand with a crazy death grip. You want to leave a positive impression not a painful memory. The motion of the handshake is about control. A couple of smooth ups and downs are all that is needed. You are not trying to pump water from a well. Follow these three easy steps and your handshake will leave a positive impression each time.
Remember not to squeeze the other person’s hand too hard. You are aiming for firm because a firm handshake translates positively. It tells the person that you are confident, focused and interested. On the other hand, a weak or limp handshake tells the person that you are insecure, intimidated and uncertain.
In the real world, it is important to act like a grown up so you always want to use the classic handshake described above. Don’t high-five. Don’t use some handshake you learned in your secret fraternal organization. A simple, firm handshake will suffice every time.
In conjunction with your handshake, you want to make sure you make eye contact. Making eye contact tells the person that they are important to you. This is especially true when you are ending the meeting. Even if the meeting did not go as planned, the handshake provides you an opportunity to leave the person with a good impression and making good eye contact reaffirms that person’s importance to you. Perfect your handshake using the tips above so you can give off positive impressions each time you meet someone.