A good handshake can make or break your first impression. A proper handshake is inevitable for having a great personality. In order to grow into a successful individual, one needs to focus on manners and etiquette. Here are a list of things that will ensure that will help your personality development and help you make a great impression with your handshake.
1. Stand when you shake your hands: This may seem simple and obvious, but there are people who mess this up by offering a hand while sitting down or while walking. Always make sure you stand still when you shake hands.
2. Make eye-contact and smile before you shake hands: It is always advisable to make good eye-contact and offer a pleasant smile before you shake hands. These convey that you really are pleased to meet the person you are shaking hands with.
3. Don't have sweaty palms when you shake hands: Always ensure that you have clean, dry palms before you shake hands. If you anticipate meeting new people, it is always advisable to wipe your palms clean beforehand.
4. Greet the other person: When you shake hands, greet the person. If you are meeting him/her for the first time, say "Pleasure to meet you, Miss/Mr ------" or if you know the person then "Good Morning/Afternoon" or "Hi, How are you?" is appropriate. Make sure you use the title (Mr./Miss/Dr./Rev. etc) and not the first name until you are given permission to call the person by first name. Also remember that when you meet a person for the first time, using his/her name (lastname/firstname as is appropriate) will help you remember it, and avoid awkward situations where you need to be introduced again to the same person.
5. Have a firm handshake: A limp handshake always leaves a bad impression, so does a bone-crunching handshake. If you are shaking hands with a lady, you can still have a firm handshake - many ladies are offended when someone gives them a limp handshake just because they are women.
6. Length is important: Although etiquette books advise that a good handshake should be about 5 seconds long, you can always take cues from the other person and deliver your handshake accordingly. If a person wants a lengthier/ shorter handshake, give it to them.
7. Thumb-to-thumb grip: A good handshake is not a finger or palm shake. The web between your thumb and index finger should meet the web between their thumb and index finger, for a good handshake. Also, remember that your left hand should NOT be in a pocket or otherwise defensive position when you shake hands - it should always be in a visible place, unclenched and open. In an intimate setting, you may use the left hand to cup the other person's hand, or touch the other person's forearm, elbow, or shoulder.
8. Handshake should be an up-down motion: You should shake hands up and down, not side to side. Also remember that when you shake hands, the movement should be from the wrist point onwards, not just fingers.
9. Initiating a handshake: A handshake should be offered by the person of a higher rank, to the person of a lower rank, in a setting. For example the interviewer should first offer the hand to the interviewed person (otherwise it is considered as an attempt to dominate the interview), the CEO to the junior employee etc. This is applicable to both men and women. However, in a social setting, it is advisable that a man should wait until a lady offers her hand first, before shaking her hands. But many women will not be offended even if you offer her a hand first. In a business setting, a senior employee who is a man should initiate the handshake to a junior lady. Also remember, if by mistake you initiate a handshake when you shouldn't have, just go ahead and finish it properly anyway. The worst mistake is to withdraw a hand mid-shake.
10. Always end your hand-shake with a pleasant smile and eye-contact.
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