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the business hand shake

The Business Hand Shake

Whether you're interacting with a customer, your boss or a colleague in another company, a confident, well-executed handshake is one of the best business skills you can cultivate to ensure that each new encounter gets off on the right foot—and that you are representing yourself and your company positively.

handshake blunders
Handshake Blunders

how to start a business hand shake
How to Start a Business Hand Shake
  • Person of Higher Status Makes the First Move—let them approach you or make the first gesture.
  • Start with Eye Contact and a Smile—a great handshake isn't just about a physical gesture, it is about connecting with the other person. It is a physical greeting and you want to convey your pleasure in greeting the other person.
  • Give an Oral Introduction of Yourself—extending your hand should be part of an introduction, not a replacement for using your voice. Extending your hand without a voice greeting may make you appear nervous or overly aggressive.
how to shake hands
How to Shake Hands
  • Go for the Thumb—keep your hand open. Get the joint of your thumb (the lower joint - the tissue between your thumb to your forefinger) nestled into the joint of their thumb.
  • Pump Your Hand Only 2-3 Times—make it brief and to the point. Holding on for more than three or four seconds can make other people feel uncomfortable.
  • Up and Down, not Back and Forth—not like sawing wood. Adjust the motion to what seems natural and comfortable to the other person.
  • Shake From Your Elbow—don’t jolt them.
  • Firm Grip, not Overpowering—a handshake should be a friendly or respectful gesture, not a show of physical strength.
ending a shake hands
Ending a Shake Hands
  • Ending a Handshake—after 3-4 seconds, or 2-3 pumps. In order to avoid creating an awkward moment, your shake should end before the oral introduction exchange does. Without conversation taking place during the entire handshake, it becomes too intimate, and can feel more like hand holding.
  • Covering Your Mistakes—even if you make a mistake, do not panic. There are many ways to save the moment. If you are worried that your handshake did not convey the right message about yourself, simply change the focus of the moment by offering a quick compliment or asking the other person a question.
the business hand shake1

The Business Hand Shake

The physical connection you make when shaking hands with someone can leave a powerful impression. When someone's handshake is unpleasant in any way, we often associate negative character traits with that person. A firm handshake made with direct eye contact sets the stage for a positive encounter.