Well, it’s because shaking hands is a common occurrence that it’s important to do it correctly! Your handshake says a lot about you- whether you’re at the bank to apply for a home loan or at a cocktail party meeting new neighbors, you always want to put your best foot (and hand) forward.
Let’s test your handshaking knowledge:
- A man should not extend his hand first to a lady. He only shakes her hand if she extends her’s first. True or False?
- It’s okay to decline shaking hands with a proper explanation. True or False?
- Never shake hands while wearing gloves. True or False?
- Ladies are not obligated to shake hands when meeting and greeting. True or False?
- FALSE. We’re not in the 50’s anymore. Ladies can and should initiate a handshake when meeting and greeting and a man should do the same.
- TRUE. There are two acceptable reasons to decline a handshake; sickness or injury. If you’re sick simply say, “It’s so good to meet you. Excuse me for not shaking hands but I have a cold and I don’t want to pass it on to you.”
- FALSE. You may shake hands wearing gloves if you are outside and wearing them because of the weather. Once indoors, take off your glove to shake hands.
- FALSE. Refer to #1.
The 7 Basics of a Good Handshake
- First and foremost: no dead fish, wimpy handshakes and no harsh vice grips. One communicates you’re not confident and the other just intimates people. Your grip should be firm and comfortable.
- Your elbow is the hinge. You shake from the elbow not your wrist or shoulder.
- Extend your right hand. You should be parallel to the other person. Good posture matters.
- Handshakes require eye contact. Look into the other person’s eyes and add in your smile.
- A handshake is only 2-3 “shakes”. Don’t go on and on shaking hands. 1-2-3 and drop hands.
- Whenever possible, stand to shake hands. Standing shows respect and that you’re truly interested in the person you’re meeting and greeting.
When to Shake Hands
Avoid that awkward moment of wondering- do I shake or not? Just extend your right hand with confidence! Offering a handshake always makes a good impression. Use your handshake when meeting new people, to say hello and goodbye, to congratulate others, and to seal an agreement.
Shaking hands is one of the first skills I teach young people in my classes and workshops. If you haven’t given your children a lesson in handshaking, please do! Once elementary school aged, children should shake hands when meeting grownups. Here’s Carly looking confident and sharp after our handshake lesson:
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