8 Steps to a Proper Handshake

proper handshake
When a person offers an unsoiled, unarmed right hand, it is a symbol of peace and goodwill

Body language portrays your self-confidence. Shaking hands is a big part of your body language. First impressions are based partly on how you do your handshakes.

Handshakes are traced back into Ancient Egypt, around 2,800 B.C. During those times, the right hand is the hand which carries weapons. When a person offers an unsoiled, unarmed right hand to another person, it is a symbol of peace and goodwill. Handshakes have endured the test of time and it is still extensively accepted as a form of social greeting in our modern times.

Come to think of it, the gestures of a proper handshake are not difficult to do. They are quite simple and can be considered as no-brainers. However, as stated above, handshakes are more than straightforward gestures since they embody the portrait of your self-confidence. Handshakes can go tremendously wrong because of nervousness or excitement which can then lead into missed opportunities or moments of awkwardness, to say the least.

There are several well-known forms of handshakes which we should avoid doing. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Palm Crusher 

The palm crusher is a kind of handshake which tends to give pain to the other person’s hand. Of course, this is not usually the intention of the initiator of the handshake but is an outcome of over-excitement or anxiousness to make an introduction.

Sloppy Joe 

This kind of hand shake can be described as lifeless. It shows lack of interest and genuineness in doing the gesture. It instantly kills the intention and the general purpose of a handshake.

Hand Sanitizer 

A handshake is a “hand sanitizer” handshake if someone: makes minimal contact with the other person’s hand; or if he overtly wipes his hand after the handshake. This kind of handshake is a horrible one and instead of building connections and acquaintances, it reverses the purpose of handshaking and instills feelings of anger and hatred.

So how is a proper handshake done?

Listed below are the simple steps in making a handshake:

  1. Approach the person whom you want to shake hands with
  2. Make eye contact with him/her
  3. Give him/her a warm smile
  4. Extend your right hand towards him/her at a comfortable angle
  5. When he/she extend his/her hand, grasp it until the webs of the palms meet
  6. Shake a few times
  7. Make an introduction or a greeting
  8. End the handshake after 3 to 4 seconds

When someone approaches you and offers a handshake, it is a courteous thing to stand up before shaking his hand. If the right hand is disabled or is carrying something which cannot be put down, shake his hand using the left hand. If both hands are occupied, a simple nod and apology can be done.

In a cocktail party, you must hold your drinks with the left hand, making the right hand fairly available throughout the event for introductions. The right hands should always be clean and dry when making handshakes. If you have sweaty hands, you may opt to put some antiperspirant (no scent, please!) before going to an event. You may also keep a handkerchief in your right pocket so that you can quietly slip your hand in the pocket to wipe it off before engaging in the gesture. Of course, you can also wipe his hand at the sides of your pants but this should be done in a discreet manner.

Handshakes can be engaged in almost all kinds of social gatherings. Come to think of it, there is no social event that is exempted from the handshake. Handshakes are exchanged in business deals, dates, renewing old acquaintances, job interviews, social engagements and even in Church.

There are few instances when initiating a handshake is not the preferred choice. In the business world, when someone faces a person of much higher ranking, it is better not to offer a handshake, especially if the person has nothing important to say to the higher ranking official. The other case is when both of your hands are carrying stuff which you cannot put down at that moment.

Remember, a handshake is more than a simple gesture. It is a gesture which builds connections and can leave an impression of a person. Practicing good handshaking can take you to higher levels, in your career and in building your relationships.

This is part nine of 15 (yes, fifteen!) posts about The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Self-Confidence, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking this link to receive free updates (not to mention a FREE E-Book!).

Part I: The Shocking Truth About Self-Confidence
Part II: 5 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Confidence
Part III: 5 Surprising Characteristics of Someone Who Fears Rejection
Part IV: How to Cope With the Fear of Losing Your Loved One
Part V: How to Overcome the Fear of Failure
Part VI: Warning: Do Not Let Your Shyness Overpower You
Part VII: The Minimalist Guide to Good Posture
Part VIII: Secrets of Supermodels: How to Walk with Confidence

To our success in all areas of life, 
Argel Tiburcio 
I’m on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/argeltiburcio 

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48399297@N04/5761588879

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When he is not busy watching "The Office", lounging at the beach, or playing 1st person shooting games, Argel consistently invests in the stock market, both local and global. He loves learning through books, training, seminars, and workshops. He also helps Pinoys create, manage, grow, and protect their wealth as a globally-certified Professional Financial Advisor. Get in touch with him by sending an email to contact[at]argeltiburcio.com

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