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The Art of a Handshake

First impressions can make or break any encounter. Research has found that a good handshake declares stability, agreeableness, and conscientiousness in an individual. Because of this, a person can decipher many personal qualities by this simple gesture. Handshakes are still an important part of meeting and encountering people, whether it is for an interview, business deal, or meeting an acquaintance. Follow these steps to ensure you are giving off the right first impression and a golden handshake:

Know your surroundings

The first thing to do is to learn the environment you are meeting the person or people. If you are waiting for an interviewer, observe your surroundings, and try to decipher which direction the person will be approaching you. From your observations, you can ensure your right hand is free and ready for the initial handshake. Having to fumble around to get your hand free can give off negative signals; be prepared for the first encounter. This rule goes for meeting for any business deals, or new acquaintances as well. Being prepared for the first introduction evokes stability and security.

Monitor your body language

Your handshake is only one portion of your overall first encounter. When the person walks over to greet you, your body language is also being read as they approach. If you are standing, keep your hands out of your pockets; visible hands display openness and honesty. If you are sitting, keep your head straight and sit upright, but always stand when you go in for the handshake. Make a warm smile and calm eye contact. Sometimes, smiling too much can make you appear too eager.

The right position

When reaching out to shake the other person’s hand, make sure it’s perpendicular, not dominant (palm down) or submissive (palm up). Make sure your thumb is up toward the ceiling, and ensure your hand is open wide between the thumb and index finger. Once your hand meets theirs, and you lock your thumb down, squeeze firmly, but not too firm. A good way to measure your firmness is to pay attention to your partner’s grip and mimic. Shake their hand 2-3 pumps, linger for a moment and let go of their hand. This is the most common manner to shake hands.

Practice makes perfect

The art of a handshake may seem like a lot to remember and incorporate, especially in a situation where you may be nervous. If you are unsure if you have a good handshake, practice with family members and friends. These people can give you constructive criticism on how to improve your handshake.

Once you practice the art form of a handshake, it will come naturally, and you won’t have to think about the needed steps to follow.Handshakes are such a small gesture, but carry much weight. Making sure you aren’t a dead-fish or knuckle-cruncher is important when trying to create a good first impression, and these steps will help you along the way. Establishing a good handshake that conveys both warmth and stability is the key, and can help to take you one step closer in your many endeavors.

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