A great professional handshake says welcome, communicates confidence and friendship, and initiates physical contact. It is an invaluable and essential tool for establishing and fostering business relationships. A wimpy or too-firm handshake, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. It makes others feel uneasy and insecure and sometimes, awkward – sort of like a bad kiss at the end of a first date.
Here are seven steps to help you shake hands like a pro:
1. Be prepared for a handshake by keeping your right hand free when someone is scheduled to enter your office or when you know you’ll be meeting someone.
2. Keep your hand warm and dry. A few squeezes or rubbing before the handshake should help.
3. Don’t wear large rings on your right hand.
4. Always stand to shake hands.
5. Establish eye contact and smile.
6. Extend your right arm and open your hand fully. Take a firm hold of the other person’s hand – the whole hand, not just the fingertips. Establish palm-to-palm contact.
7. Give a couple of good, firm two- to six-inch shakes. Keep smiling and keep the eye contact going. Then release your hand.
Tip: Try to exert the same squeeze pressure as the other person. However, if he or she offers you a limp hand, exert a bit more pressure but not enough to be uncomfortable.
Every career professional should be able to shake hands with ease and confidence. Share these handshake how-to’s with your employees and colleagues. If you feel that you’d benefit from doing some more work on your handshake and from receiving some feedback, set aside time to review these tips and to practice shaking hands at your next staff meeting. — Dr. Laura Hills, Blue Pencil Institute, www.bluepencilinstitute.com