Nailing the Handshake

The Handshake

The handshake is under attack! With the ever growing concern of germ spread, people are taking to high fives and fist bumps. Even the President has reported a preference for a hearty fist bump. Despite the recent trend though, the handshake is the expected tradition in the workplace when meeting new colleagues or interviewing for a job, so stock up on pocket-size bottles of hand sanitizer and jump into these tips on handshakes.

For such a simple gesture, it may be surprising that there is definitely a right way to do a handshake. It involves extending your right arm when you’re about three feet away on your approach with your thumb pointing up. Lock hands thumb joint to thumb joint, clasping hands firmly, pump the hand a few times, and let go. It should look something like the picture above us.

Some typical handshake mistakes include –

Locking in too hard – This is a professional courtesy, not a feat of strength. There’s no prize for having the hardest handshake.

Locking in too weak – Going the other direction isn’t comfortable either. This one is common when a man wants to be a gentleman with a lady and tries to give a dainty handshake. Women in the workplace should be treated with the same respect and can stand up to a good handshake.

Being cold, clammy, or just plain sweaty – Keep your hands on the ready. If you’re worried about a sweaty palm, discretely slide your hand into a pocket and use the lining of the pocket to dry your hand before you are in a situation you may need to shake a hand.

Handshakes may one day go the way of the curtsy as a little used tradition of formality, but they currently remain an important act of professionalism and doing them right is important. With these tips you can give a respectful handshake that will look good in a job interview, an introduction to a new client, or any other reason you may need one.


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