Handshake Etiquette: Make a Lasting Impression

By Makenzi Jordan Rodriguez 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

“A good handshake should never be remembered, but a bad handshake can live in your mind f-o-r-e-v-e-r.”

There’s that old saying, “you never get another chance to make a first impression.” So, if a handshake is part of that, how do you win that first encounter? Here are 5 ways your handshake can communicate effectively:

  1. A strong and firm handshake indicates that you are confident and have an open-minded demeanor.
  2. The duration of a handshake shows respect and interest (just don’t make it too long!).
  3. Eye contact is key during a handshake. This demonstrates confidence and sincerity.
  4. Having a balanced grip (neither too weak nor too strong) indicates respect and equality.
  5. Follow through after the initial grip. Pulling away abruptly can come across as rude or disinterested.

Not a fan of shaking hands? Use your voice! 

Plan ahead and communicate your reasoning. Many people, myself included, find shaking hands unsettling, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a communications specialist and networking guru, there’s one thing I know for certain: use your voice and politely get your message across while looking the person you are meeting firmly and kindly in the eye.

“I am not shaking hands at this time, but it is so nice to meet you.”

There are different ways to greet business professionals and handshakes are not the only option available. However, being polite is key.

Whether it’s a fist-bump, handshake or polite wave, make sure that you lead with authenticity!