Handshakes are Important


I learned to shake hands properly years ago and believe it or not the right handshake works like magic.  I think it sends a subconscious signal to the other personal about you and the type of person you are in a very short moment of connection.  As the saying goes "you can tell a lot about people by the handshake."  The same is said of many other things but this one is valid.  Read this and you may learn something and would not surprise people if you don't know how to shake hands the right way.  I can think of hundreds of things I wish I could do as well when it comes to interpersonal interaction.  I just know how to do them "badly" as I was taught is the first step to learning skills well in my Human Relations I course.  I wish I could them properly.  It would make a world of difference.


from Hiring Technical People by johanna

When I was about 8 or 9, my father taught me to shake hands. “No limp  fish!” he explained as he taught me to grip the other person’s hand making sure our thumbs met. (I really hate it when men prevent me from shaking hands properly by grabbing my fingers instead of my palm. They’re not going to kiss my hand, and it hurts when they smash my fingers together. Growl.)

Bob Sutton’s post, Handshakes and Job Interviews:Study Shows it is Especially Helpful for Women, explains why.

To me, the most interesting finding pertains to women.  The researchers found that, on average, women had weaker handshakes than men. Probably because their are different expectations for men and women, women’s weaker handshakes did not lead to weaker hiring recommendations (In fact, overall, the interviewers were more positively disposed to hire women than men).  BUT those women who had firmer and stronger handshakes, and used more complete grips, benefited more than men who had firm handshakes and complete grips — the researchers suggest that this effect may have been seen because men are expected to have firm shakes, and because it is more unusual among women, those women with firm handshakes were more memorable.

His post has a link to the study.

If you’re not sure how to shake, find another person because it’s hard to practice this yourself. Walk up to the other person, and respect their personal space, so stand about 2 feet away. Much more, and the person with the shorter arms has to extend his/her arm a lot and can fall off balance (that would be me). Much closer and you might be too close. Now, both people extend their hands to each other, bending at the elbow. It’s most comfortable to shake with a bent elbow. If you’re too far away, take a small step closer.

Now, slide your hand into the other person’s hand, palm to palm, and don’t stop until you meet the skin between their thumb and forefinger. All the way please. No shaking fingers. Take a firm grip. This is not a squeezing contest, so you don’t have to squeeze, just maintain a firm grip. Now, gently bring your hand up and down a couple of times. It helps to smile and say, “Nice to meet you” and use the other person’s name.

I let go after a couple of up and downs. I drop my hand to my side and maintain my smile. If you feel the other person let go, you let go too.

Handshakes are a social nicety, so learn how. And, they help establish rapport no matter where you stand in an interview.



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