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Perfecting the Handshake

It is said that one establishes their opinion of another person within the first five seconds of meeting them. One critical action that takes place during this time is the introductory handshake. What does your handshake say about you and how can you improve it? Read the following tips to help you make the most of this little gesture:

Verbally Introduce the Handshake: Never shake hands silently. As you reach for the person’s hand, introduce yourself verbally (e.g. “Hi, I’m Mike.”). Or, if someone else has made the introduction for you, offer a word of greeting (e.g. “Nice to meet you,” or “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”).

Perfect the Grip: No one likes to shake a limp hand—it comes across as passive and disinterested. However, too firm of a handshake may seem aggressive or uncomfortable. Practice lightly squeezing your own forearm to gauge how strong of a grip is comfortable and how it feels to you.

Timing: It’s important that a handshake last for the right amount of time. A typical handshake should last approximately three to four seconds. This allows enough time to make a connection, but doesn’t last long enough to feel awkward. 

Motion: Don’t simply hold the other person’s hand; lightly pump their hand up and down two to three times, leading from the elbow. Again, moderation is key: remaining motionless is awkward, but aggressively pulling your partner’s hand up and down is equally uncomfortable.

Eye contact: Always ALWAYS look your partner in the eye as you shake their hand. It helps you to appear friendly, confident, and professional.

For more great advice on good speech, voice, and communication habits, visit us at our website, www.corporatespeechsolutions.com.

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