How to Get a Good Hand Shake


Creative Commons License photo credit: star5112 by my friend Debra Benton

This happens every day in business: “Ralph (Ron or Ray) meets Laura in her office, and both nervously shake hands. Laura notices what feels like a wimpy, limp clasp. Both think to themselves, “Yech, what a poor handshake.” A two-second exchange like that sets an unease and discomfort in the relationship from then on. Whose fault is it? Likely, Laura.

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.

The simple act of the woman turning her wrist perpendicular to the floor when she extends her hand to shake with a sort of “put ‘er there” will increase the chance of both getting a fair shake.

I was in a Mexican restaurant in Southern California and noticed a number of people going to a corner of the restaurant where the manager had set up office. One person after another was escorted to him. He would stand up, shake hands, have the person sit and talk for about three minutes. 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 up to the manager and ask about his process. He kindly explained he was interviewing people for job positions. “But I notice you only spend three 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 blonds working there who all apparently all had good hand-shakes.)

make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed for all the latest articles Subscribe in a reader

Leave a reply