How to give a proper handshake

Doesn’t shaking someone’s hand seem so basic? Like, who doesn’t know how to shake a hand properly? Ah, well, most women actually. Do you know how women typically shake hands?  It’s the dreaded limp handshake. You know the one that just sort of sits in your hand with no strength or confidence to it; it actually almost feels like an apology.

First impressions matter and if you’re offering a limp handshake, it means you’re not confident and you don’t even believe in your own abilities, so why would anyone else (especially someone looking to hire you.)

The handshake tells others so much about you without you even uttering a single word. Obviously, you don’t want to seem like a wrestler when you’re shaking their hand, but your handshake should give the impression that you’re serious, you know what you’re talking about and you’re confident!

Bad handshakes are hard to forget. Ever get your hand crushed by someone? It friggin’ hurts! I’ve actually had instances where I said “ouch” after someone shook my hand. I’ve also been grossed out by how wet/sweaty someone’s hand is.

A 2001 study done by psychologist Dr. William Chaplin revealed that extroverts are more likely to offer a firm handshake and introverts are more likely to offer a limp handshake. Guess which handshake made a better first impression?

Most people don’t realize how important the handshake is. You will shake a lot of hands throughout your career and networking opportunities, so you better learn how to do it properly.

When shaking hands, make sure your hand is dry (seriously, wipe your hands down) and if someone doesn’t offer their hand to you first, then reach forward and offer yours, it’s a sign of confidence. No one will leave you hanging. Keep eye contact as you say “Nice to meet you, or pleased to meet you, my name is Maja…..”.  Smile. Let the handshake go.  Just like that.

Now practice this with friends or family (both men and women). Ask for feedback.

TIPS:

  1. Make sure your hands are dry. If you have sweaty hands then you should carry Kleenex or a handkerchief with you. Worst case then just dry your hands on the side of your pants.
  2. Always maintain eye contact. Don’t be looking around the room to see if there’s anyone more important to talk to.
  3. Offer a firm grip – don’t try to dominate them with an excessively forceful grip.
  4. Smile. 
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