Published here November 2018

Background | Upon First Introductions 
Perfecting the Perfect Handshake | Success in Dining and Similar Social Occasions

Perfecting the Perfect Handshake

Practice the perfect handshake first by seeking feedback on yours. Ask someone you trust to help identify areas of opportunity. Then, practice it on others to solicit feedback and more guidance until you've mastered the art.

Some keys to the perfect handshake include:

  • Anticipate the handshake. Ensure your hand is free, out of your pocket and not holding onto any items. Switching hands to shake is distracting and awkward.
  • Use your right hand. Even if you're a leftie, our culture dictates right-handed handshakes as key.
  • Maintain a strong, confident posture. Remain upright and refrain from leaning. If necessary, take a step toward the person with whom you're greeting. If you're seated upon meeting someone, stand up before shaking their hand. This signifies respect to the person you're meeting.
  • Make intentional eye contact as you greet the other person. Once your hand makes a connection, ensure your eyes connect too. Use a kind greeting such as "nice to meet you" or "great to see you again." Incorporate their name with your greeting to help better solidify your introduction. This interaction trifecta will warm up anyone with whom you connect.
  • Remain firm throughout the handshake. Grasp the other person's hand with a firm grip without squeezing. Maintain the grip for two seconds before releasing. Don't allow your hand to fall limp upon the initial grip.
  • Shake from your elbow, not your wrist. Two or three pumps will do. Any more and your partner will begin to feel uncomfortable.

You want to be so confident in your handshake style that it is second nature. Seeking feedback and frequent practice will help solidify your good habits, so you can concentrate more on meeting the person and less on the impression you're making. The more comfortable you become, the more confidence you'll convey.

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