Make an Impression: Your Handshake

A handshake is the first time you’ll touch a stranger. It’s a chance to create an impression and to gain rapport. You’ve probably heard all the things not to do during a handshake, but in case you need a refresher, thanks to Wendy Terwelp for this article.

The trick of a good handshake is only 50% in the actual handshake and 50% in what you say and how you introduce yourself.

The Handshake

A good handshake starts with a smile and good eye-contact. If you’re smiling and have good eye-contact, the handshake will usually be much smoother. It not only puts the other person at ease (lest they crush your hand), but it also gives you the chance to have a warm introduction rather than a boring “serious” one.

Next, make firm contact. If you end up missing the person’s hand or if you sense the handshake was a little off, acknowledge it. Acknowledging it is always better than pretending it didn’t happen. It also gives you the chance to say “let’s try this one more time”.

Last, depending on the situation, focus the conversation on the person you’re meeting. People love talking about themselves, so give them the outlet to feel heard and appreciated.

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Tip to make your hands seem bigger:  Stick your index finger across the person’s wrist when you shake their hand.  Done quickly, it will make your hand seem bigger than it actually is.  This is great for women or men with smaller hands.  

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