Business handshake – your first impression

A handshake is one of the first impressions you make at an interview or when meeting someone new.

Whether you are greeting a colleague, a future employer or customer a confident and firm handshake makes a great first impression. While a handshake might seem to be fairly simple and straightforward, many youth and adults do not know how to properly shake another person’s hand. 

There are many great resources available online related to business handshakes. Michigan State University Extension has a resource, The Perfect Business Handshake, which assists in teaching how to properly shake hands. Career Advice  from offers the following tips below which are similar to those in the above mentioned resource.

These tips will help you ensure that your handshake is communicating what you want it to:

  • Timing: Shake hands when you enter the room for an interview, at the end of an interview or when you meet someone new.
  • Speak Up: Say something when you shake hands, introduce yourself or at least, “Nice to meet you.”
  • Get a Grip: You do not want your grip to be too limp or too strong. A limp one suggests shyness or weakness, while a bone crusher can suggest you are overpowering. A medium-firm grip conveys confidence.
  • Shake Palm to Palm: Make sure you shake palm to palm, and keep your hand perpendicular to the ground. The webbing between your thumb and pointer finger should meet their hand in the same area.
  • Mind Your Audience: Be observant and follow the cues of those around you. Respond with pressure that meets the pressure you receive. Don't try to overpower the other person if their grasp is more timid. And be aware that different social boundaries prevail in different cultures.
  • Know When to Let Go: The good handshake lasts approximately three seconds. The hands can be gently pumped once or twice, you do not want to over pump when shaking hands, then it's time to pull back your hand, even if you are still conversing.

It has been stated, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Learn the business handshake to help make a great first impression for your future career.

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