Personal Effectiveness – How to Do a Handshake

Handshake gives you the opportunity to establish your friendliness and accessibility, whether you are meeting your neighbours or starting a new job. Practice with friends or family members before you start shaking the hands of strangers. Remember that people often initially judge you by your handshake, so make sure it shows your confidence and pleasant personality.

Occasions you will need to shake hands:

  • Initial introduction
  • Job interview
  • Saying goodbye to a friend or business associate
  • Whenever someone else extends his or her hand
  • Seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long time
  • Greeting guests when you are the host or hostess
  • Greeting a host or hostess when you are the guest

How you do it

Make sure your handshake is firm, and not crush the other person’s hand.

Make sure you don’t have food or grease on your hands. You want the person to remember you, not what you ate.

If your hands are sweaty, give them a quick nonchalant wipe on your pants.

When you offer your hand, look the person in the eye and smile.

When you do it

Handshakes involve timing. Many people avoid offering handshakes because they’re afraid of being rejected. If you’re not sure if someone will notice your offer, extend the handshake anyways. Most of the time people will notice your handshake offer and quickly grasp your hand.

Be aware of different social customs. Most cultures have different customs for shaking hands. Some find it inappropriate for a man to shake a woman’s hand and some cultures find shaking hands completely unacceptable. Be sensitive to these situations.

What if you’re left hanging?

One always feel dumb, especially when everyone but the person with whom you were trying to shake hands saw the rejection. Don’t feel embarrassed. The problem isn’t that the other person doesn’t think you’re important, you’re timing was just off.

  • Don’t offer a handshake if the other person is engrossed in conversation with someone else.
  • Don’t approach someone from the side with your extended hand. It’s hard to see.
  • Do audibly greet the person first to get their attention and then offer your hand.

Where to do it

Handshakes are good everywhere. Make sure to shake plenty of hands when you go to a social gathering. Make sure to shake the hosts’ hand when arriving and leaving the gathering.

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