Google “a good handshake” and the first website that pops up is “the art of manliness”. I disagree, it’s not just men that should have a good handshake. In business men and women equally should have a firm and solid handshake.
A handshake is a good greeting
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first introduction to someone new or a regular meeting, a good handshake with eye contact makes an excellent impression and is a sign of respect. No matter who you are if you can do that, you set your encounter off on the right note.
Let’s start with the bad…
Think of a time when you have experienced a bad handshake, it will probably involve:
· wet, sweaty or sticky palm
· a limp wrist
· floppy hand
· digit dabbler
· over-eager shaker
A good handshake:
· Includes eye contact
· Is firm
· Is one with dry hands, no-one enjoys the “wet fish”
· Is brief, a Donald Trump style prolonged handshake can be uncomfortable
· Keep it simple, hand in hand, shake and release (nobody wants a little extra tickle on the wrist, or another hand placed over theirs).
If you are shaking hands when meeting someone new, repeat their name (ideally if you say their name three times you should be able to later remember them).
Get a grip
In New Zealand, a firm grip is preferred over a weak grip. You don’t want to crush the other persons hand, and likewise you don’t want to simply run your hand against theirs.
Many middle eastern countries do not shake hands and countries such as China and Japan often prefer a weaker handshake.
Did you know?
The history of the handshake goes back to archaeological times, 5th Century BC in Greece and was found to be a way to agree on deals. In times of battle when swords were still carried, the handshake became a sign of peace and trust.
Handshakes are used by us in general as a way of greeting or congratulations, in sport to demonstrate good sportsmanship and in business as a way to signal an agreement.
Our best and worst
A quick Palmerston North Personnel office poll revealed we all like a firm but not tight grip, placed firmly in your hand with eye contact. It was agreed a good handshake makes a very good first impression and also is a sign of respect, especially when engaging with people older than yourself.
Men are normally offered a handshake before the ladies. We found our men shake hands in both business and personal meetings whilst ladies mainly shake hands in business meetings, although when meeting a new person for the first time will often shake as an initial greeting.
“A good handshake is firm and brief, it gets very awkward when someone won’t let go! And a bit embarrassing if you’re left hanging.”
“Weak handshakes are just awful and if their fingers sort of linger on your hands it creeps me out.”
“The same with a handshake where someone nearly breaks your hand – just no need and it immediately makes me think they have to be the superior person.”
My favourite comment from our team comes from our Business Manager Jo Norman; “a handshake should start with the smile, this will travel down into the handshake, travel up the other persons arm and make them smile!”
What about you?