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:
- 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.
- Moisture – without being sandpaper, your hands should be dry and not sweaty or clammy.
- Temperature – your hands should be warm, not cold.
- Texture – do you like shaking hands with someone’s scabs or callouses? Enough said.
- No bandages or casts – you don’t want people to think they might hurt you by shaking your hand.
- 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.
- Few rings to none – the fewer rings there are, the less chance of pinching and hurting someone’s hand.
- Confident reach – don’t wait for someone’s hand to come to yours, reach for theirs and meet it.
- 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.
- 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.
- Positive – grin or smile while shaking hands.
- Be sincere – don’t just grin or smile, do it like you mean it. A fake smile ruins the whole effect.
- Look them in the eye – the best way to prove you’re being sincere.
- Shake vigor – don’t shake too vigorously, but don’t let them shake your whole arm either.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Viral – this whole article came about because my friend’s handshake is so terrific I had to tell you about it.
- 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?
If you liked this article, you’ll enjoy Katie Konrath’s What does your handshake say about you?
Related articles from around the web