About a week or 2 ago, I met the manager of my bank and he came and shook both my and my mom’s hand. And this was a very memorable handshake, but not in the good way. He put out a cold, limp hand and gave what I would call the “dead fish” handshake. This memory incited an interesting conversation with a friend this morning about what makes a good handshake, in other words: handshake etiquette. A handshake says a lot about a person when you first meet them. Think about the last time you shook someone’s hand. What thoughts went through your head? “Wow this person is confident” or maybe even “That was actually a really bad handshake, I can’t put a lot of trust into this person”. In a sense, that first handshake is a key way to brand yourself. So what makes the best handshake? The following lists what makes a great handshake.
- Softness – nobody likes shaking hands with sandpaper. Although you don’t necessarily need to carry around a bottle of hand moisturizer, at least make sure that your hands aren’t rough to the touch.
- Moisture – without being sandpaper, your hands should be dry and not sweaty or clammy
- Temperature – your hands should be warm, not cold.
- Texture – do you like shaking hands with someone’s scabs or callouses? Enough said.
- No bandages or casts – you don’t want people to think they might hurt you by shaking your hand
- Clean – the only thing worse than worrying about hurting someone’s hand is worrying about catching a virus from it like warts, a cold, etc. Even feeling just one Band-Aid is discomforting.
- Few rings to none – the fewer rings there are, the less chance of pinching and hurting someone’s hand.
- Confident reach – don’t wait for someone’s hand to come to yours, reach for theirs and meet it.
- Good timing – lock hands without any jitters or fumbling, sliding one hand into the other. Don’t aim to grasp fingers, aim for the palm.
- Solid grasp – everyone hates the dreaded “dead fish” where someone leaves a limp hand in yours. Do the opposite; clutch the palm without squeezing so hard that it becomes painful for the other.
- Positive – grin or smile while shaking hands.
- Be sincere – don’t just grin or smile, do it like you mean it. A fake smile ruins the whole effect.
- Look them in the eye – the best way to prove you’re being sincere.
- Shake vigor – don’t shake too vigorously, but don’t let them shake your whole arm either.
- Know when to let go – a good shake usually involves a palm squeeze and release, but be careful if the other person is too quick or too slow, which could lead to an awkward moment. Instead, with a confident reach, be first to engage and disengage.
- Syncs with your personal brand – for most people, this just means following all the previous points to being a handshaking professional, but for some people this may mean having a unique handshake or one that’s more in tune with their profession. If a clown always shook hands in a serious way, you’d wonder about his sense of humor.
- Memorable – so few people do this that if anyone ever impresses you with their handshake, you won’t forget them. If your handshake is memorable, it is successfully building your personal brand.
- Encourages loyalty – a great handshake is one that makes people want to shake your hand again. For that, they’ll need to have you around them again.
So, do you have what it takes to have the best handshake?
Source: Jacob Share