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It’s one of the briefest moments in an introduction, but it might make the largest impact on a first impression. Handshakes speak volumes, whether they’re good or bad.  A good handshake conveys confidence, etiquette, professionalism, and respect.  A poor handshake speaks volumes as well, and the negative feelings evoked by a poor handshake stick with the recipient for a long time. (Psychology Today)

A poor handshake isn’t necessarily a weak one; it could be too strong or, worse, the overhand dominate handshake.  A good handshake is an important piece of a first impression, and it might be something you need to practice.  Think about the last time you met someone.  Did you take initiative and extend your hand? Did you feel confident doing so?  If the answer to either question is no, read on for some quick and simple rules to improving how other perceive you based on this critical part of culture.

1. Make eye contact and smile. Introduce yourself verbally before offering your hand.

2. Keep it short. No more than four shakes; an extended handshake can make others uncomfortable.

3. Parallel palm placement. Your should not extend your hand palm down (perceived as dominant) or palm up (submissive), unless it’s part of a cultural norm.

4. Your grasp should be firm. Avoid gripping someones hand too strongly, an introduction is not a place to assert physical dominance. Nor should your hand be weak or limp; there are few things more awkward.

5. When in Rome… Use your instincts, especially if in a foreign country, and follow the social norms.

For more reading, check out Fast Company’s article.
Have you ever had a terrible handshake experience?

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