How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

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It has been said that people get an impression of you within the first few seconds. Usually this isn’t so important, this impression can adapt and change after a few seconds. But there are times, for example, before a job interview or meeting someone important that you want to impress, where the first impression is the most important.
In these situations it is important to show self confidence and openness, and this can be achieved with a great confident handshake.

A handshake can tell a lot about the power relationships

The history of the handshake [1] actually goes back many centuries, to ancient Greece, where people would shake each others hands as a way to express trust, as shaking hands demonstrates that neither side is carrying a weapon.

Whilst now, there is no thought that anyone might be carrying a weapon, many people believe that the way you shake someone’s hand tells them a lot. Some feel that the way people interact with each other boil down to power relationships [2] . With this in mind it can be very important to get right.

Be the one to initiate it, it shows that you’re confident and have greater power

One of the most important things to consider in handshakes is who should initiate it. Really there are two schools of thought. It’s felt that the person of higher power and rank [3] should initiate the handshake, for example: the hiring manager in a job interview. Waiting for the other to initiate the handshake may show deference and respect on your part, however this could be at the cost of your appearance of confidence. Indeed, being the first to initiate the handshake in some circumstances may be seen as bold and a great expression of confidence on your part.

Ensure power balances: mimic the other person’s body language

Thinking back to the idea that human interaction is based on power relations and power balances, there is a way to maintain a good balance of power in a handshake. This can be especially important when you think the other person will try to show a degree of dominance.

President Trump’s [4] super macho handshake has now become legend, when Trump shake hands he maintains contact for an unexpectedly long amount of time, and halfway through the shake pulls the other person inward. This is Trump subconsciously telling the other person that he is more powerful.

Recently Trump attempted this on Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, and an unexpected thing happened. When Trump placed his hand on Trudeau’s shoulders, Trudeau did the same, when Trump tried to Pull Trudeau inwards, Trudeau resisted. Essentially Trudeau mimicked Trump’s body language and in doing so, the balance of power was maintained with neither man coming across as dominant. In resisting Trump, Trudeau gained a great deal of international respect.

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

Stand to show respect

Two of the most important parts of delivering a strong, confident handshake happens before your hands make contact. Firstly, it’s always a good idea to stand up to shake the person’s hand. This is especially vital if you are sitting and they are not, as standing up first is both considered polite [5] , and is a good gesture of respect.

Maintain firm eye contact when shaking hands

As soon as someone initiates the handshake, until the handshake stops it’s a good idea to maintain eye contact. This is easy when there’re no other people in the room, or you don’t need to shake hands with anyone else, however if you were to look away or (worse) look at someone else, the other person will think you don’t find them interesting or not worthy of your full attention. At best they may feel you aren’t confident, and this can be equally damaging.

Maintaining eye contact has many benefits, not only do you show the other person that they have your undivided attention, but it also shows confidence as many find maintaining eye contact difficult. Fascinatingly, research [6] has shown that the connection made when people look into each others eyes is so strong that we remember people’s faces more (great for job interviews!) and subconsciously consider them more sophisticated and outgoing. We think the opposite of people who avoid eye contact.
It’s arguably the most important part of a handshake and it has nothing to do with shaking hands.

When making eye contact make sure you give them a warm and genuine smile. A true smile is shown in the eyes as much as the lips. Any nervousness or fear you might have will be detected even if you are making sure to move your lips in the appearance of a smile.

A Moderate Grip (Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose)

When shaking their hand make sure your grip is firm, avoid limpness at all costs. You were probably expecting this bit of advice, it is without a doubt the most repeated bit of advice in the world of handshakes. Its popularity is testament to its importance. Yet so many people get it wrong and instead of being firm, they instead deliver a superhuman death grip.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that if the other person leaves the handshake in physical pain, it wasn’t a good one. Instead make sure to give the other person a little squeeze, unless their handshake is limp, a good idea is to match the pressure that they are giving.

I was in my mid-twenties, just about to start a new job when my new boss told me that I needed to work on my handshake. “Your handshake is your business card” was the idea behind the quick lesson. And I was so sorry no one had told me that before! I have no idea actually what my handshake might have felt before. But after putting some thought in it I’m sure my business card was all good after that. This is something that I hardly ever think about, unless I’ve had to enter a job interview with sweaty or cold hands.

A firm and confident handshake is definitely something that gives a good first impression. Having to shake hands with someone who doesn’t respond. Or on the contrary: with someone who puts all their strength in it. We’ve all had these those and this makes the first mark we start to build the relationship from. It goes without saying that there is no place for this physical handshake, at least not for a while. As more customer meetings and job interviews happen via video, we need to create a new business card: firm virtual handshake. This may be a bit more difficult one to achieve but is worth the practice to leave a great impression. Either it’s a job interview you have to take or meeting with a new customer – keep in mind these little aspects that create your firm virtual handshake and will help you achieve the results you need.

Dressing up as part of your virtual handshake

Dressing professionally is the first step in having a successful video meeting. Think about what you’d wear if were to meet with the people in person. Maybe it’s even better to overdress compared to that, especially on the first meeting. Your appearance leaves the first impression but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of clothing on yourself. With office and work like clothing you will feel more professional and confident. With the potentially unprofessional environment this is something that will help you feel and act in a more professional way.

Take care of the background

Test your camera before the video conference. Play around with the camera’s viewing angle and make sure nothing in the background will take the focus off you. Your spouse lying in the couch? Kids on their underwear? Wine bottle on the table from yesterday’s evening? Political wall posters or weird souvenirs from your travels? Lose them all! Make sure that nothing sticks out and the focus and spotlight is on you only.

Most video conference tools have the option to blur the background or use another image as the background. You may consider using that but check it before you go live. Custom background may also blur some of your hair or body parts when you move in front of the camera. That might not be a problem if you have blow dried hair like Cher or Jennifer Aniston. But if that little blurred “haircut” leaves you somewhat bald, don’t use it! Just make sure you have a pleasant background setting to support your performance.

Be confident and prepared

Make sure your computer has a solid internet connection and test your speakers and mic before you go live. Be there 5 minutes before the meeting starts just as you would on a regular meeting. With all the tech and physical preparations don’t forget the purpose of the meeting. You can take your notes and questions to the video meeting just as you would on a regular one. Make sure you have everything you need with you at once so you wouldn’t have to go and find something during the video call. Have a glass of water close by to take a sip when your mouth gets dry or you start feeling a little tingle in your throat.

Focus on your posture, gesture and eye contact

Provided that you are wearing your formal outfit your posture should be automatically quite good. Try to avoid falling into more casual posture: slouching or leaning back on the chair or sitting in front of the camera with your chin on your hands. Sitting straight up with a slight forward lean tells your conversation partner that you’re confident and attentive. Moderate gesticulation, nodding with your head and smiling every once in a while sends out the relaxed, natural and confident message.

It’s quite common that people tend to adopt some parasite gestures when they are under stress. It can be either scratching your head, picking on your nose, touching your face or running your fingers through your hair. If this is the case with you, observe yourself during the meeting and try to avoid these actions.

Attentiveness and eye contact can be difficult to maintain in a longer period of time as there are potentially large number of distractions. Make sure all your other applications or chats are not running in the background, sending you notifications as you speak. Mute your mobile to avoid the distraction of incoming phone calls. Focus only on the ongoing video meeting. Eye contact with the camera sure is difficult and weird to maintain but try to keep to it. Avoid your eyes wandering around in the room as it is a clear sign for your partner that you’ve lost interest in them.

Rules for the family

It’s clear that online job interview or a business meeting is something that has not happened with the most of us before. You may have struggled with the kids who demand milk during your work meetings. Or ask for biscuits and a cuddle during your evening chat with your friends. This is not something that you want to be happening during your online meetings with a lot on stake. The best option is for the family to give you privacy for that one hour or so. That gives you the opportunity to put all your talent and brains out there without having to worry about breaking up fighting kids or someone singing in the shower.

As you can see there are many aspects that can help you create your firm virtual handshake. Although many of these you should also consider during actual meetings, some aspects like distracting environment and maintaining your focus might be harder to achieve remotely. I do recall one job interview years ago when I was sitting in one room with an interviewer and the other one joined us via video. I remember that at one point the person in the video yawned at the same time that the person in the room asked me something. She of course didn’t notice the yawn and was very surprised when I started laughing during the question. Luckily the person on the video saved me and explained my reaction after which we all laughed. I got the job. I seriously doubt if it would have happened if the person yawning on the video would have been me.

A handshake is more than just a greeting. It is also a message about your personality and confidence level. In business, a handshake is an important tool in making the right first impression.

While the art of handshaking does vary within cultures, in the United States the “rules” are pretty universal.

Begin With an Oral Introduction of Yourself

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

Before extending your hand, introduce yourself. Extending your hand should be part of a business introduction, not a replacement for using your voice. Extending your hand without a voice greeting may make you appear nervous or overly aggressive.

Pump Your Hand Only 2-3 Times

A business handshake should be brief and to the point. Consider a handshake a short “sound bite” greeting, not a lengthy engagement. Holding on for more than three or four seconds can make other people feel uncomfortable.

Shake From Your Elbow

If you shake from the shoulder, using your upper arm instead of just your forearm, you risk jolting your handshake partner. The idea is to connect, not be overbearing.

Do Not Use a Forceful Grip

A handshake should be a friendly or respectful gesture, not a show of physical strength. An uncomfortable handshake is never a pleasant experience for anyone. Imagine you are opening a door handle and use close to the same level of grip in your handshake.

Avoid Offering a “Fish Hand”

A limp hand is never a good idea when it comes to a business handshake. Do return the grip, but do not get into a power struggle, even if the other person squeezes too hard.

Forget “Lady Fingers”

It is not a Southern cotillion; this is business. Offering only your fingers to shake may be appropriate in some social settings, but in business settings, you are an equal, not a “lady.” Extend your entire hand, and be sure to grasp using your entire hand as well.

One Hand Is Better Than Two

Avoid the urge to handshake with two hands. It is always better in business introductions to only use one hand—your right hand—for the shake. The use of two hands with strangers is seen as intrusive, and too personal. In fact, a two-handed shake is called the “politician’s shake,” because it appears artificially friendly when used on people you barely know.

Shaking a Sweaty Hand

If you shake hands with someone who has sweaty palms, do not immediately wipe your hands on your clothing, handkerchief, or tissue. It will further embarrass the other person, who is probably already aware they have sweaty hands. You can discretely wipe them on something after you are out of sight and wash them later.

Ending a Handshake

End the handshake after 3-4 seconds or 2-3 pumps. To avoid creating an awkward moment, your shake should end before the oral introduction exchange does. Without conversation taking place during the entire handshake, it becomes too intimate and can feel more like hand-holding.

Covering Your Mistakes

Even if you make a mistake, do not panic. There are many ways to save the moment. If you are worried that your handshake did not convey the right message about yourself, simply change the focus of the moment by offering a quick compliment or asking the other person a question.

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshakeDelivering an appropriate hand shake is more than a simple physical contact, which can usually make or break your foremost impression on a person.

A weak handshake that’s too feeble can express your weakness or lack of confidence in yourself.

A well-executed hand shake is anything which can express your self confidence, faith and a genuine interest in other person.

Understanding the exact way to shake someone’s hand can signify the difference between accomplishments and failures in normal business environments.

Positive as well as negative reactions are almost instantaneous and typically depend on first impressions. This is the reason why your eye contact, firmness or weakness of handshake and also your dominance plays a vital role in making a good impression.

Start with a perfect eye contact and a warm smile!

Handshake is not just a simple physical sign; rather it is more about connecting one person to another. It is considered as a way of greeting a person physically in order to express your feeling of pleasure when you meet a particular person. The best way to express your pleasure can be with your face and also eyes.

So, try to offer a handshake with a perfect eye contact with the other person and with a pleasing smile on your face. Remember to maintain eye contact throughout the shake.

Give a complete handshake!

Try to keep your hand open and ensure that your handshake must be a handshake, but not a palm or finger shake. Hold with your complete hand and make it stiff without crushing.

A good practice for this is to ask your friend in practicing your handshake grip. Always try to use only one hand, as using both of your hands can express resentment or intent to overwhelm.

Give a smooth yet confident shake!

Don’t show over excitement or enthusiasm while offering handshake. Try to handle it as smooth as possible and also with great confidence levels.

Other tips to follow while anticipating a handshake!

  • If you are carrying any food or drink in your hand, try to hold it in your weak hand to avoid a damp hand while shaking. If you have caught with any kind of food in your shaking hand, try to set it down if it is convenient, or else try to convey apologies for having full hands.
  • If you tend to have cold hands naturally, always try to keep your hands in pocket, in order to warm it up before delivering handshake.
  • Avoid delivering handshake with damp and moist hands and particularly if you have sweaty hands naturally. Try to put some antiperspirant on your hands before you offer any handshake.

Always remember not try to correct any one if they have offered you a poor handshake. These are certain essential tips which you need to follow while offering a handshake to any one. Try to follow these simple tips to make an impression.

You’re probably aware of the importance of making a good first impression, right? Once an employer has evaluated the way you present yourself, what’s the next thing you will be judged on? That’s right, your handshake.

Make sure your handshake is firm and dry; this will allow you to make a good first impression. I have shaken a lot of hands in my career and can now group them into five categories based on different characteristics. Insights will be given on what handshakes project confidence and which ones don’t for each of these categories.

the wet one

There are many repulsive handshakes, the wet one probably being the worst handshake around, so try to keep your palms dry. People get nervous, especially before an interview, so just remember to keep your hands dry and wipe your sweaty palms.

Here are two tips in order to keep your hands dry.

1. Wash your hands before going to the interview and keep your palms open until the time comes to shake hands with the employer. Make sure not to close your fists, because that’s what generates the heat and sweat.

2.Wipe your hands before the handshake. Carry a Kleenex to wipe your hands, as this will help you absorb the excess moisture and allow you to give a dry handshake.

the softie

A soft handshake demonstrates weakness, lack of confidence, lack of interest, and lack of masculinity. These are obviously the opposites of power and strength, important attributes in respected and successful people. I would suggest that if you do have a weak handshake, firm it up. This will definitely leave a better impression every time you shake hands. Pay attention to how much pressure is applied by the receiver and notice if your handshake is firm enough, then adjust yours accordingly.

the four-fingerer

I am sure this happened to you before. Someone takes your four fingers, not allowing you to really lock your hand with theirs, and then squeezes your hand hard. That is really frustrating and should be avoided. This can happen easily when rushed or simply by accident. My advice to you is to apologize and ask the person for a second handshake. It might sound awkward, but people actually remember this and will appreciate the respect derived from a real quality handshake.

the crusher

This type of handshake is classic. You know how guys and their egos are; they have to be the strongest male around. Some guys really like to squeeze your hand as if it was a lemon. Don’t get me wrong, I like a sturdy handshake, but it has to be comfortable to the receiver to some degree. Just save your testosterone for the gym and moderate your grip.

the oddball

These days, people need a manual to decode some of those weird handshakes. I see kids twiddling, slapping, clicking, and dancing with their fingers, and they actually consider these handshakes. Please grow up and be men. No more hocus pocus; a simple, firm handshake, will do fine.

A handshake is a very simple gesture, but can be a determining factor in interviews and social gatherings. Just make sure you firmly shake the person’s hand and look at them straight in the eye. This is a simple, yet effective tip which will hopefully allow you to make a great first impression.

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A handshake is how we communicate our first impressions at work. They’re how other people take our measure, and they tell others whether we’re confident or faking it. (Hello, sweaty hands).

We often don’t think about the handshake as a complex set of behavioral tasks, but Denise Dudley, clinical psychologist and author of “Work It! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted,” does and she has broken this critical task for career success into the smallest components anyone of us can do.

“It’s tactile because I’m going to be touching you,” Dudley told Ladders. “It’s visual because you’re going to be looking at me and assessing my face and eye contact. And it’s also auditory because I’m going to be saying my name to you or at least saying the words, ‘hi or hello.’ It’s a bunch of information condensed down to just a few seconds of interaction. It’s how we do a quick assessment of who the other person is.”

Here is the definitive general guide Dudley has studied on how you should handshake in the workplace in the United States:

1) Stand

No matter who’s who, older or younger, the best way to initiate a handshake is to get on your feet and stand in front of the person, if your body is able, Dudley believes.

“It honors the person, it’s the polite thing to do. But more importantly, it puts you in the proper alignment to shake hands,” she said.

2) Square off

You then need to have your shoulders squared off to the person you want to shake hands with, so that you are facing them. When your shoulders are aligned, so are your sympathies.

3) Aim

Aim your right hand towards their right hand and point your thumb towards their shoulder, so it keeps your palm open. As soon as the web of your skin touches theirs, you close your hand around theirs.

4) Squeeze

Here’s the step where people trip up and make bad handshakes. People can wrongly perform the bone-crusher and squeeze too hard or they can imitate a dead fish and limply let their hands be taken.

A strong handshake, or a weak one, are not coincidences. Instead, they’re reliable body-language signals that tell us what people’s intentions are.

Bone-crushing handshakes are an aggressive action that happen when people want to dominate you or want to remind you that they are more important than you.

Dead-fish handshakes can be equally as bad because they make you a non-participant, and create the impression that you have no personal agency and that you don’t want to be doing this. They also make the person whose hand you’re shaking feel as if you don’t take them seriously and don’t want to commit to anything.

The best, perfect, “hire me” handshake is to close your hand around their hand and “squeeze firmly but gently,” Dudley said. She recommends being on the gentler side if you notice the person is wearing rings on his or her hand.

5) Pump your elbow

“The pump needs to be executed from the elbow,” Dudley said. “We don’t do a pump, an upward and downward motion, from our wrist because that is jarring, and it looks weird and it feels weird. And we don’t want to do it from the shoulder.”

If you initiate a handshake from your shoulder, the see-saw action will yank people off of their feet, and you will come off as a domineering jerk.

Instead, the shoulder should stay stable as the elbow moves.

In the U.S., workers typically pump their hands three times on average, Dudley said, while in several Asian and South American cultures, the pumping hand can come with a slight bow.

6) Make direct eye contact

This is a requirement. You must give people your undivided attention in this one moment. “When we go for a handshake, we look directly in the eyes of the person we’re shaking hands with—and nowhere else. It’s a rule that can’t be broken,” Dudley said. “You don’t look at the next person you’re going to shake hands with, you don’t look down, you look right in their eyes.”

In countries outside of the U.S., you may need to look down as a sign of respect, however. In Japan, infamously, too much eye contact can be read as a sign of aggression.

7) Adopt a neutral or friendly facial expression

Some sort of pleasant facial expression is needed to turn a good handshake into a great one. Smiling is an easy accompaniment to get this across, but you should “at least look pleasant, if you can’t have a smile,” Dudley said.

This too has cultural implications: smiles are rare in the U.K. and France when meeting someone for the first time, and in fact a big open smile there makes people think you’re not that bright or you’re easily fooled. Instead, keep an open, attentive, neutral face, which should work in nearly all countries.

8) Greeting

A handshake is not a silent ballet. While all of these unseen behaviors are happening in seconds, you have to keep in mind to say some sort of greeting or if it’s the first handshake, an introduction to who you are.

There are advanced maneuvers like gently touching your other hand on top of your shaking hand as a sign of affection, but you should only do this after you’ve met someone.

Then there are people who go too far: people who take their left hand and clamp it over their right hand that’s shaking yours are not your friend—they want to make you feel trapped.

9) Keep in mind the power dynamics of reciprocal touch

Here’s a harsh truth about humanity: outside of family or very close friends, we touch people more when we think we have more power than they do.

“If you look at who touches whom in the world, children get touched a lot more than adults, women get touched more than men, students get touched more than teachers, patients get touched more than doctors. So in other words, who touches whom is a function of who believes they have the power in the interaction,” Dudley said. “We don’t want to ever touch people in a way that’s non-reciprocal, where they don’t feel free to touch us back.”

That means that when we touch other people, especially at work, we need to make sure it’s in a way that they feel comfortable touching us back.

High-fives and fist bumps are creative handshakes that are acceptable in the workplace because they can be reciprocated: “They’re simply showing who my brothers and sisters and peeps are. It’s a cultural bonding thing,” Dudley said.

Your supervisor patting you on the back for a job well done, however, is a non-reciprocal touch. You can’t pat him on the back too, after all. This interaction, though well-meaning, is non-reciprocal because there’s no way you the employee can pat them back in this power dynamic. Whether or not your touch can be reciprocated is the overarching distinction that should guide what is acceptable and not at work.

Those rules should help you master the handshake that gets you the job. Go forth and practice.

You won’t make it far in life without shaking a few hands. Perfecting the art of a proper handshake is essential to making a good first impression. If you want to make connections and get ahead in the professional world you absolutely must learn how to shake hands professionally.

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

Handshakes are the acceptable standard for greeting people in most social and professional settings. Take a minute to think about how many times you shake hands with people every day. Most people shake numerous hands on a daily basis without ever thinking about it.

Have you ever experience a bad handshake? Sweaty palms, weak grips, awkward lingering, or excessive shaking can ruin the handshake experience. Is it time to start paying attention to your handshake etiquette? We think so.

Let’s take a quick look at how to shake hands professionally:

  • Introduce Yourself – Tell the person who you are before you reach out and shake their hands.
  • Dry Hand If Necessary – If you have sweaty palms, air them out and wipe them down before you initiate the handshake.
  • Initiate Appropriately – It’s almost always appropriate to initiate a handshake during a greeting. Never leave an extended hand hanging.
  • Use The Correct Hand – Most people shake with their right hand, but be prepared to shake with your left hand if circumstances require that. Pay attention to your non-shaking hand. Keep it visible and open.
  • Stand Up – Stand up out of respect for the person you are greeting.
  • Make Eye Contact – Look a person in the eyes as you shake hands.
  • Smile – A smile goes a long ways to establishing that you are a confident, friendly, genuine person.
  • Grip Firmly – A firm and consistent grip is perfect. Too tight and you could injure the other person’s hand. Too weak and your handshake will feel like a dead fish.
  • Pump 2-3 Times – Shake from the elbow 2 to 3 times.
  • Time It For 3-4 Seconds – Don’t linger while shaking hands. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Repeat Their Name – Saying something like “It’s great to meet you, Tom” during the handshake can help you remember their name later on.

None of these things are hard things to accomplish, so don’t overthink it. And definitely don’t make things awkward. Instead, find a friend or family member and practice how to shake hands professionally. It’s an important skill to master if you want to find a job or grow your network.

FYI: In some cultures handshakes are taboo. Always read up on how professionals greet each other in different parts of the world. If you’re clueless, follow the other person’s lead and do your best.

Your handshake is a convenient personal branding accessory right in the palm of your hand, so use your handshake to leave a great impression. Here’s how.

How important is a handshake as a way to brand yourself?

People shake hands all the time.

Unless your handshake is particularly bad, people will rarely react negatively to it and they’ll ignore the occasional jitter or semi-clasp. But if your handshake is particularly good, you will stand out and people will remember you.

Ultimately- since a handshake is such a basic thing, expectations are relatively low for results. Which also means that the barrier is low to achieve good results.

The best handshake in the world?

A new friend of mine has the best handshake in the world.

The first time I met him and we shook hands, I was wowed.

Here’s what makes so great a handshake like his:

  1. Softness – nobody likes shaking hands with sandpaper. Although you don’t necessarily need to carry around a bottle of hand moisturizer, at least make sure that your hands aren’t rough to the touch.
  2. Moisture – without being sandpaper, your hands should be dry and not sweaty or clammy.
  3. Temperature – your hands should be warm, not cold.
  4. Texture – do you like shaking hands with someone’s scabs or callouses? Enough said.
  5. No bandages or casts – you don’t want people to think they might hurt you by shaking your hand.
  6. Clean – the only thing worse than worrying about hurting someone’s hand is worrying about catching a virus from it like warts, a cold, etc. Even feeling just one Band-Aid is discomforting.
  7. Few rings to none – the fewer rings there are, the less chance of pinching and hurting someone’s hand.
  8. Confident reach – don’t wait for someone’s hand to come to yours, reach for theirs and meet it.
  9. Good timing – lock hands without any jitters or fumbling, sliding one hand into the other. Don’t aim to grasp fingers, aim for the palm.
  10. Solid grasp – everyone hates the dreaded “dead fish” where someone leaves a limp hand in yours. Do the opposite; clutch the palm without squeezing so hard that it becomes painful for the other.
  11. Positive – grin or smile while shaking hands.
  12. Be sincere – don’t just grin or smile, do it like you mean it. A fake smile ruins the whole effect.
  13. Look them in the eye – the best way to prove you’re being sincere.
  14. Shake vigor – don’t shake too vigorously, but don’t let them shake your whole arm either.
  15. Know when to let go – a good shake usually involves a palm squeeze and release, but be careful if the other person is too quick or too slow, which could lead to an awkward moment. Instead, with a confident reach, be first to engage and disengage.
  16. Syncs with your personal brand – For most people, this just means following all the previous points to being a handshaking professional, but for some people this may mean having a unique handshake or one that’s more in tune with their profession. If a clown always shook hands in a serious way, you’d wonder about his sense of humor.
  17. Memorable – so few people do this that if anyone ever impresses you with their handshake, you won’t forget them just like with my friend above. If your handshake is memorable, it is successfully building your personal brand.
  18. Viral – this whole article came about because my friend’s handshake is so terrific I had to tell you about it.
  19. Encourages loyalty – a great handshake is one that makes people want to shake your hand again. For that, they’ll need to have you around them again.

Are you happy with your handshake?

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Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor.

Jacob Share, a job search expert, is the creator of JobMob, one of the biggest blogs in the world about finding jobs. Follow him on Twitter for job search tips and humor.

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

As much as we don’t like to admit it, first impressions have a major impact on how we react and relate to those around us. Consciously or not, we make judgments about other people’s characters and professionalism based on the first few seconds we spend together.

First impressions are crucial not only because they are formed in as little as seven seconds, but also because they are hard to shake afterwards. If you want the people you meet at networking events — potential customers, partners and investors — to see your best side, you will need to act quickly and make sure you start out on the right foot.

Below, twelve communications executives from Forbes Communications Council share their advice on how to best introduce yourself and your business to leave a positive and long-lasting impression.

These communications executives offer advice on putting your best foot forward.

All photos courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

1. Show interest in the people you meet.

The worst way to introduce yourself is with a pitch. Instead, start by asking about the person with whom you are speaking. Find out what he or she does and needs and make the conversation personal. Not only are people happy when you show interest in them, but what they have to say will help you angle your pitch in the future. – Holly Chessman, Glance Networks Inc.

2. Engage on an authentic level.

New entrepreneurs often fall into the mistake of talking too much about themselves and their products. People grow tired of hearing about other people. Engaging on an authentic level and asking lots of questions about the other person goes a long way toward getting them to remember you and your business. – Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

3. Have confidence and a firm handshake.

No one likes a wavering person or a dead-fish handshake. If you show confidence, others will pick up on that. People remember a nice, firm handshake that doesn’t linger too long. Ask a question with genuine interest, then listen. People love to hear themselves talk, so let them. You will learn a lot about what others do and get the chance to follow up in a positive way. – Charlie Riley, Lawley

4. Make a human connection.

When you meet someone new, try to find some common ground and make a human connection with them, rather than instantly asking them what they do. The best networking is done by building a real relationship with someone, not just swapping business cards. You’ll be more memorable and get more out of networking events if you look for opportunities to genuinely connect with the other attendees. – Nadja Blagojevic, Axiom

5 . Tell them why.

Opening up by explaining why you do what you do and why you love it is sometimes more interesting than what you actually do. It allows the conversation to take many directions and helps you potentially form a connection with someone. They may not be interested in what you do, but if your “why” is compelling, you have a chance to actually get to know someone and network. And make it a two-way street: Don’t forget to ask them their “why.” – Natalie Hahn, Billtrust

6. Focus on nonverbal communication.

When meeting someone for the first time, what you don’t say matters just as much as what you do say. Go back to the basics of nonverbal communication and make sure you greet people with a smile and a firm handshake, and that you look them in the eye and introduce yourself with confidence. Repeat your contact’s name as the conversation ends — this attention to detail is sure to leave a lasting, positive impression. – Brandie Claborn , McAfee

7. Always keep eye contact.

Looking sharp and having a firm handshake are important for first impressions, but keeping eye contact throughout the conversation is critical. Asking questions while focusing in on the individual will help build an immediate relationship. It allows the other person to see how much you care about learning more and making a real connection. – Glenn Gray, Buffalo.Agency

8. Be original and polite.

Don’t feel compelled to do what everyone else is doing. You can stand out and leave an impactful impression simply by being genuine and polite. A candid conversation will have no problem separating itself from the pack of sales pitches and boasting. By being original, you will market your brand and image as authentic. – Makenzie Bonham, Burnett’s Staffing, Inc.

9. Begin with the end in mind.

Networking events can often be overwhelming, but not if you prepare to win. I personally like to do some homework on the event and the attendees I can expect to come across. Learning about them and their businesses prior to the event not only shows you have a determined attitude to form a relationship, but it also ensures you are prepared to ask questions that will make them think twice. – Joel Contartese, Media Monsters

10. Pitch yourself as an opportunity.

Professionals who attend networking events are looking for opportunities. Therefore, do some basic research beforehand. Mark specific targets. Have your pitch ready about how you can add value to them or their domain, and not about what you do. Back it up with a reason as to why they should believe you. – Neeraj Sanan, Zoom2Growth

11. Ask people what has made them smile lately.

Gratitude puts everyone in a good mood, so getting people to think about something that recently made them happy will project some of their positive feelings onto you. When you use this technique, everyone you talk with will leave the conversation with a smile and view you as the most energizing person at the event. – Krystal Covington, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

12. Make it about them.

Think “role reversal.” After you’ve introduced yourself, focus on their story and their needs. Be a better listener than a talker, which is tough for all of us to do at times. They’ll appreciate being able to have the stage to share their company’s focus; then you will become their problem solver. When it comes to talking about yourself, make sure you have the answer to “who am I and what’s my value.” – Kraig Kann, Kann Advisory Group

How to leave a great impression with a confident handshake

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