Don’t be a Dead Fish!

By Ashley Boarman, account supervisor

I’ve been on the professional events circuit lately where I’ve encountered several bad handshakes. There’s the classic icky sweaty palm (yuck!) and the always awkward “lobster claw,” when a person clasps a few of your fingers and then pulls away. We can’t, of course, forget the most awkward of all bad handshakes: the “dead fish.” This is what happens when someone’s hand bones turn into limp spaghetti right before your very eyes. It’s pure torture.

Enjoy this lighthearted YouTube video of the best worst business handshakes:

At the end of the day, people want to make a good first impression that will ideally turn into a positive, lasting impression. Help seal the deal with a solid handshake:

  1. Start with a dry hand.
  2. Say your full name (and company name, if necessary).
  3. Extend your right hand while making eye contact. Don’t overextend.
  4. While going in for the shake, say “It’s nice to meet you.”
  5. Throughout this process, make eye contact and smile. Don’t look at the handshake.
  6. Give it two – maybe three – shakes at the most and then call it a day.

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

Do you have a great story about a handshake gone wrong? Post any stories or handshake suggestions in the comments below. Happy shaking!

7 thoughts on “Don’t be a Dead Fish!

  1. Limp handshakes are the worst! They oftentimes set the tone for a meeting, which isn’t a good thing. Thanks, Ashley, for this reminder.

    David C.

  2. Love this blog! And, always look people in the eye when you meet them – don’t look away at something else.

  3. Ashley, great blog post. I always remember that my father, John Landis, taught me to shake hands firmly and look the other person in the eye. Truer words were never spoken. Love your tips. Cheers, David

  4. On the flip side, if you crush my hand, I’ll crush yours right back.

  5. Well done. I am off to a chamber of commerce event in the morning, and this will have me keenly aware of the many handshakes. My big challenge is to avoid focusing on the awful ones like the “dead fish” and keep focused on the person I am meeting.

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