People + Culture

How To Give a Good Handshake

Recently, we dove into personality tests, digging into how individuals think, interact, and perform in different situations. So, continuing with the trend of analyzing people, we bring up the very important topic of handshakes. There are a number of types that should be avoided, but for now, we’ll focus on the small details that have a big impact.

Handshakes are one of the most important nonverbal forms of communication when meeting someone for the first time. In those few short seconds of physical contact, key characteristics can be revealed and subconsciously judged. We’ve boiled it down to eight points that can make all the difference in an initial interaction.

Prep Your Hand for a Good Handshake

The first three are dryness, temperature, and texture. These should effectively work together to eliminate the horror that is “clammy hands.” Humidity is gross. We’ve all experienced a time when we’ve gotten all dolled up only to step outside and have our hair turn into Albert Einstein meets Carrot Top on a moist, summer day. Imagine that scenario in between the palms of you and a potential employer.

What we want to achieve is a simple, warm, dry shake that inspires confidence and doesn’t inadvertently turn off the receiver of said shake.

What To Do

If possible, warm your hands with hot water or under a hand dryer before your big moment. A bit of lotion may go a long way as well, because while no one wants to embrace a swamp monster, they probably don’t want to lock palms with The Thing.

What Your Handshake Says About You

Moving on, the next four important factors of a winning handshake include strength, vigor, grip, and duration. Nobody likes the “wet fish,” so properly execute strength, vigor, and a firm (but not tight!) grip which exudes dominance, assurance, and trustworthiness. In addition, a grip that lasts even a second too long can show desperation while one too quick may be perceived as just plain rude, so keep it to 2—5 seconds.

What To Do

Come in strong and enthusiastic with a solid grip that doesn’t exceed three seconds and the individual on the other end may mistake you for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Handshake + Eye Contact = Good Handshake

Those seven components lead to the final key to a successful hand hug: eye contact.

I’m sure you’ve had countless lectures about the importance of eye contact, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Eyes are the windows to the soul. They reveal our true feelings and help us to connect with those around us. All the same, a lack of eye contact or avoidance altogether can portray dishonesty and insecurity, but really looking into someone’s eyes shows power, charm, and sincerity.

What To Do

Once contact has been made, hold it for a few seconds, but know that occasionally breaking it in conversation is perfectly fine. They say gazing for too long may expose a hidden desire for love or murder, both of which are inappropriate in a professional setting.

With this knowledge on how to give a good handshake, may you go forth and prosper in all things kinesics and oculesics.

taylor-porterArticle by Taylor Porter, Copywriter – Only a month after graduating from Webster University did Taylor Porter snag a spot with the 2e team as a copywriter. Outside of the 9-5, you can find her one of three places: at the gym crushing weights, on the couch watching History Channel, or under a mountain of blankets taking a nap. Other hobbies include almost burning the house down cooking, tennis, and pretending to only speak French when out in public.


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