The Unspoken Rules of a Handshake that You Should Know
By Charlene Rhinehart
If you thought the handshake was just a customary way of greeting someone, think again. There is more to a handshake than the verbal interaction that takes place during the meeting of hands.
The concept of a handshake dates back at least as far as Ancient Greece, when shaking hands was more socially acceptable than bowing or curtseying. Shaking hands was a way for both parties to join forces on the basis of equality. It shows that they felt so comfortable in each other’s presence that they didn’t need to bring weapons to their meeting. Now, we use the handshake as a way to enter dialogue with others that can determine if we get the job, win the client over, or attract a new business partner.
In order for the handshake to work in your favor, here are some things you should know:
If you have two bags in your left hand and a warm cup of peppermint chai tea latte in your right hand, you offer the impression that you’re an individual who has too much going on. This is not the message that you want to send if you want to invite new people and opportunities into your life.
Here is what you want to do to be prepared for your next interaction: if you have belongings in your hands, shift everything to your left hand well in advance. You want your right hand free to shake hands. That means that all drinks should be placed in your left hand. Why? Because glasses usually contain drinks that perspire and you don’t want to be caught wiping your hands on your pants before you extend your hand for a handshake. That is certainly not the first visual that you want people to remember you by.
Earn Your Respect With a Firm Handshake
If you want to be taken seriously in the workplace or at networking events, you don’t want rumors to get around that your handshake resembles a limp noodle. You also can’t reach out with such a forceful and aggressive handshake that it leaves the other person calling their hand therapist later. Aim for the balance in between strength and gentleness.
A healthy handshake sends a message to others about your confidence in yourself and the strength of your abilities. It is a brief exchange that conveys your intentions to the other person, brief meaning approximately 3 seconds. A shorter handshake can cause you to be labeled as insincere, while a longer handshake can make you seem overly eager. You want to display confidence and authenticity. When people can feel your genuineness through a handshake, they will instantly respect you.
Use Your Eye Contact and Words to Establish Trust
If a person fails to look you in your eyes, you think they are trying to hide something. Of course the perceptions of eye contact vary by culture, but eye engagement usually represents interest. Once you lock hands with another person, make sure you are providing appropriate eye contact with a smile in order to open the doors to a trusting relationship.
Use the handshake as a chance to share the most important information that you can give someone–your name! Share your name while shaking hands and repeat the other person’s name during the handshake. By saying the name out loud, you confirm that you are saying it correctly and can now use it throughout the conversation in order to address the other person. Using people’s name’s in a conversation will impress people because they know you are listening to what they are saying. Saying names is a great way to build trust because it is the sweetest word that a person will hear.