I believe it’s very important to take steps to have an effective handshake, since this is one of the most common forms of greeting in the world. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or you are just greeting an old friend, it’s important to have an appropriate handshake. Everyone knows how important a handshake can be, especially when you’re going on a job interview and your goal is to make a powerful first impression. If you shake the other person’s hand too firmly or if you pump too much, you might come across as overly aggressive. On the other hand, if you shake hands too limply, you might give the wrong impression and you might exude incompetence and a lack of vitality. Here are a few important steps to have an effective handshake everyone should keep in mind, especially when trying to impress someone:
1. Be the First to Extend Your Hand
One of the first steps to have an effective handshake is to remember to be the first to extend your hand. You will make a strong and long-lasting impression; you will seem very professional, friendly and approachable. It’s also about control; if you are the one who is offering your hand first, then you are the one who is leading the way.
2. Introduce Yourself
When you are meeting someone for the first time, before shaking their hand, it’s always best to begin with an oral introduction of yourself. After you do that, just extend your right hand to meet the other person’s hand, grasp their hand firmly and squeeze gently once. By extending your hand without saying something, you will only seem nervous or overly aggressive and I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.
3. Pump Your Hand 2-3 Times
When you’re greeting someone, make sure you pump your hand only 2-3 times because a business handshake should be brief and to the point. If you do that for more than 4 or 5 seconds, the other person might feel uncomfortable and you will give them the wrong impression. During the handshake, just look them in the eyes, say a few kind words and smile.
4. Don’t Use a Forceful Grip!
Don’t ever use a forceful grip! You want to seem friendly, polite and professional, not aggressive. An appropriate handshake should not be a show of physical strength! Don’t turn a greeting into an uncomfortable experience for the other person and don’t use force when you’re shaking their hand. At the same time, try to avoid offering a “fish hand” and forget “lady fingers”. Just extend your entire hand and shake firmly once (maybe twice).
5. Don’t Use Two Hands!
Just remember, one hand is better than two in this case. Try to avoid the urge to handshake with both hands because if you do this, you might seem inappropriate, intrusive and too personal. Just use your right hand and you will be just fine. Actually, a two-handed shake is called the “politician’s shake” because it seems insincere and artificial especially when you are using it with people you don’t know very well.
6. Make Sure Your Hands Are Not Sweaty
When you want to greet someone and shake their hand, make sure first that your hands are not sweaty or even worse, dirty. If you are nervous and your hands sweat a lot, then just rug your palms against your pants or skirt or if you can, just use a tissue. On the other hand, if the other person’s hands are sweaty, don’t wipe your hands on your clothing immediately after you shake hands with them, because you will only embarrass them. Just wait a little while and discretely wipe your hands later, no matter how uncomfortable you might feel in the moment. Think about the other person’s feelings and make them feel good around you.
7. Make Eye Contact
When you’re shaking somebody’s hand, be sure you make eye contact. I’m not saying you should stare at them, just don’t look at the floor or at the things around you, because your behavior might seem disrespectful, even though you are only nervous and you find the other person intimidating. Just gather your strength and courage, look them in the eyes, smile and say something nice and you will make a good first impression.
A handshake is extremely important because it sends a message about your personality and confidence level. Do you have an appropriate handshake? Are there any other steps on how to have an effective handshake that I forgot to mention in this little article? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!