Friday, April 29, 2016

Five tips on how to shake hands with confidence

When you meet someone — whether it be a business associate, a host at an event or a colleague you haven't met in a long time — your first response is to stick your hand out. And that's the appropriate reaction. However, what comes next may not be perfect and could let down your whole greeting — a botched handshake. So, before you stick your hand and neck out, read these pointers to seal the deal.

The hard hand: Have you ever been on the receiving end of a limp handshake and cringe at the thought of that experience? While we can all agree that a weak grip and flimsy palm is unpleasant, in your eagerness to do the opposite, don't use a bear grip. Your aim is to be firm but not bone-crushing. So let the power extend from your elbow and not your shoulder. The aim is to make an impression but not leave your own finger impressions on their skin.

The slippery hand: In hot and humid conditions, it's natural to sweat. It's uncomfortable but that doesn't mean you have to share your discomfort with someone else. Before you shake hands, make sure they are dry because a slimy, wet hand will ensure you're remembered for all the wrong reasons. Carry a handkerchief in your pocket or simply wipe down your hands on your pant leg before going in for the shake.

The looooong one: Things can go from familiar and friendly to uncomfortable in just a few seconds. A handshake that goes beyond 3-4 seconds, will immediately take you into awkward territory. So, extend your hand, shake it up and down for a few seconds and then disengage. A long handshake is you just holding hands with your business associate. Don't make them feel like they need to ask you for their hand back.

The cupper: Also known as the politician's handshake, this is a bad idea, especially if you are meeting someone for the first time. The cupper is when someone holds your one hand with both their hands — while it's meant to signify fondness and enthusiasm, it can often come across as needy and overbearing. Save these handshakes only for work associates you are fond of or if you are meeting someone after an extended period of time.

The looker: The most underrated aspect of a handshake has nothing to do with your hands at all. Eye contact is one of the lesser known traits of a good shake. Never look at your hands when you are greeting someone but always at their face. It helps you connect. But no glaring and certainly don't attempt not to blink. Smile, look them in the face and say hello.
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