So maybe it’s your first interview with a new job; you’re anxious, you’re scared and your palms are sweaty. So what now? Handshakes are one the best and most common ways to make a good first impression with your hiring manager or when meeting people for the first time. It’s one of the first things he or she will learn and notice about you. A good, strong handshake shows confidence and respect and can only be to your benefit. A good, proper handshake can never hurt you, so you should learn how to do it correctly or to improve your handshake. A proper handshake is one of the best business skills you can cultivate for yourself. When offering a handshake you are representing yourself or your company (if giving a handshake to a client or potential client.) Here are a five ways to get past a weak or shy handshake or to improve your current handshake:
Be firm, but not bone-crushing: You don’t want a limp handshake because it shows weakness or a lack of enthusiasm and lack of confidence in yourself. People judge your handshake and how good (or bad) it is because it tells a lot about your personality as well. When you’re interviewing for a potential position, you don’t want to come off as insecure or unsure of yourself just because of a weak handshake. Your handshake should be firm, but not too firm. Sometimes out of nervousness, you might not give enough pressure, or even give too much and cause the handshake to be uncomfortable for the opposite party. Moderately squeeze the other person’s hand and only pump your hand up and down if he or she does first. Women especially tend to just offer the tip of their hand for a handshake, don’t do this. You should have the same, firm handshake as a man.
Know when to initiate the handshake:
When meeting someone for the first time
When meeting someone you haven’t seen for a while
When greeting your host(ess)
When greeting guests
When saying goodbye to people at a gathering
When someone else extends a hand
Say something when shaking hands: Shaking hands gives you an opportunity to build rapport and positive chemistry. When extending your hand for a handshake, introduce yourself by name and (if known) say the person’s name whose hand you’re shaking. Say “Nice to meet you Ms. Jones.” Or “Good to see you again, Mr. Smith.”
Be sure to make eye contact: Eye contact shows confidence and poise, especially when shaking hands with someone else. Don’t forget to smile when giving a handshake. This shows positivity and shows that you are a person of a pleasant nature. Be sure to hold eye contact until the person whose hand you’re shaking breaks it. If you break eye contact first, it shows a lack of confidence.
Know when to let go: A proper handshake should last around 3 seconds. Follow the lead of the other person when shaking hands, especially when letting go. You don’t want to hurry out of the handshake, this can come off as rude and abrupt or that you are not genuine in your greeting. You don’t want to come across as just using the motion as a formality, you want to seem certain and sincere in your greeting. Don’t be the first to let go of the other’s hand either. Wait until he or she does, then stop. This shows respect as well.