The proper business handshake

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This is Technique No. 108 from Litwin’s The ABCs of Strategic Communication and More ABCs of Strategic Communication (available on with free Priority mail shipping).

There are five basic types of handshakes most of us have experienced
none is correct.
Try this for success:
The protocol for handshaking is simple to learn:Walk up to the person you want to meet. Look into their eyes, smile and extend you hand.Offer a warm, firm, palm-to-palm handshake.

When you proffer your hand to a stranger or a distant acquaintance, simultaneously say, “My name is……( use both first and last names ). This way you eliminate the awkward moment of the forgotten name. The person being greeted is often relieved at being reminded, and will usually respond with their full name, which will in turn relieve you.

Both men and women should rise to shake hands. Rising is a compliment – it shows energy and eagerness to connect.

Initiating a proper handshake will make an incredibly positive impression. You will be perceived as a person who is knowledgeable, possesses excellent social skills and has leadership capabilities.

An excellent handshake shows your charm and self-confidence. It becomes an integral part of your style.

Knuckle Cruncher
This type of person is earnest but nervous. While meaning to convey warmth through a tight grip of your hand, the person only causes you pain. The impression created is definitely that of
a person who lacks sensitivity.

Dead Fish Handshaker
This type of person, who places a limp, lifeless hand in yours, is sending a negative message. While the knuckle cruncher hurts you, at least there is a desire to express a real feeling. You are left
with the impression of this person having a lackluster personality impression of this person having a lackluster personality.

This handshake is overly eager but also insecure. This person doesn’t know when to quit, almost as if stalling because of not knowing what to do next. They keep on vigorously pumping
your hand up and down – and with it your entire arm. You may not feel pain but you certainly feel foolish.

Techniques to Succeed:

  • Sanitary Handshaker

This person will barely put three or four fingers in your hand-and then withdraw them quickly, almost as if afraid of catching a dread disease. They appear timid and sheepish.

Condolence Handshaker
This is the person who comes across as too familiar, clasping your right arm or hand, and perhaps attempting to hug you. This behavior may be appreciated at a funeral, but it comes across as
condescending and inappropriate.

Source: The Canadian Progress Club – Bob Lockhart – National President Elect

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