The 'business' of handshakes: Set the tone with a strong greeting — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

The 'business' of handshakes: Set the tone with a strong greeting

Get PDF file

by on
in Quiet Power

Here’s a scenario for you: Rashid (Raoul or Ray) meets Lori in her office, and both nervously shake hands. Lori notices what feels like a wimpy, limp clasp. Both think to themselves, “Yech, what a shake.”  A two-second exchange like that can create unease and discomfort in the relationship from then on. Whose fault is it?  It’s likely Lori’s

Women get lousy shakes because they set the stage for them. They typically extend their hand with fingers in a palm down motion.  Men clasp the women’s fingers and they get “finger to palm” contact. It ends up feeling uncomfortable for both.  Men don’t shake fingers to palm with other men; they shake palm to palm.

A simple act, if a woman turns her wrist perpendicular to the floor when she extends her hand to shake, with a sort of “put ‘er there Mac” (palm to palm), it will increase the chance of both getting a “fair shake.”
Both men and women can use the left hand for a two-handed shake to generate more sincerity in the greeting.  (Almost all politicians try this.) The left hand grasps the other person’s hand or wrist while shaking. 

If you want more sincerity place your hand on the other’s elbow.  Want more?? Place it on the person’s shoulder. Want even more??? Try a corporate hug — the kind where pelvises don’t touch.
CEO of PAC Inc., John Krebbs says he gives a “bear hug” to people he meets for the first time. “They relax and enjoy it or go catatonic — but they never forget it.” 

That’s what your handshake should do for you: make you memorable.

I was in a Mexican restaurant in Southern California once and noticed a number of people going to a corner of the restaurant where the manager had set up office at a table. One person after another was escorted in to him. He would stand up, shake hands, have the person sit and talk for about two minutes. He’d then stand up and shake hands goodbye. The person would leave and the next would come up and do the same. 

After about an hour of watching this, I felt compelled to go over to the manager and ask about his process. He explained he was interviewing people for job positions.

“But I notice you only spend two minutes with each. What can you tell in that short of time?”  He said, “I decide whether I want to see them again.” 
“How do you decide?”

“By their handshake.”

(I might add that there were an awful lot of cute, young, long-haired blond women working there who all apparently have good hand-shakes.)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: