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The Importance of a Strong Handshake (and how to do it!)

Now a lot of you may be wondering. Why are you writing an article about a handshake? Well its because its that important! The University of Iowa concluded a study that determined that a handshake is “more important than agreeableness, conscientiousness, or emotional stability”. These findings have been replicated in a number of different follow up studies.

So yes, a handshake matters, it matters a lot. Now you may want to know: what makes a good handshake? Here are the key points you need to know.

1. Being Prepared

When you enter into a new environment where you are first meeting people, whether this be at a job interview or a new networking opportunity, you have to first have your right hand free! This means whatever you might be holding, try to have it in your left hand (ex. Drink, bag, purse etc..). Having a cold/hot drink in your hand might make you sweat or get wet from condensation, which will make your hand feel moist/clammy.

2. Body Position

Keep your hands out of your pocket if you are standing as this will make you seem more open and approachable. If you are seated, make sure to stand when going for the handshake. Lastly, Make sure you make eye contact and keep your head held high.

3. The Hand

Simple, when offering your hand, make sure your thumb is pointing to the ceiling. Don’t have your hand any other way. Keep it simple.

4. Hand Strength

When engaging in the handshake, make sure that you provide adequate pressure to the other persons hand. It must be considered a FIRM handshake with enough pressure in your hand. You must always avoid is what people call the ‘Dead Fish’ which is when your handshake has no pressure and is limp in the other persons hand. Alternatively, you do not want to provide too much pressure that you are hurting the other persons hand.

I encourage everyone to practice this with someone they know, so they can find that perfect level of pressure to apply to the persons hand to get the desired effect. This will be important for people who are not used to shaking hands!

5. The Shake

Make sure to shake their hand 1-2 times! Its called a handshake not a hand hold. So give it a little shake when you have grabbed their hand and then release!

That’s it! With those quick tips you will have the perfect handshake and you will be able to put your best step forward and give that perfect first impression to whomever you are meeting.

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