4 Basic Tips for a Great Business Handshake
I listen to a sports radio show daily, the “Dan Patrick Show,” and recently they discussed bad handshakes. They described different handshake faux pas, including a particular issue they dubbed “the hand gobbler.” If you’ve mistimed or miscommunicated a handshake in the past, you can guess what “the hand gobbler” looks like. Here are a few ways to deliver the best handshake possible, whether during an interview, at a networking event, or even just at the office.
Avoid clammy, wet hands.
This is one of the most common impediments to a great handshake. You can always keep a handkerchief on you or wipe your hands on your pants, but for some people, this doesn’t cut it. There are a couple other techniques you can try to keep your hands dry.
First, consider that spicy foods and caffeine can both increase perspiration. So, even the things you eat or drink before an interview or networking event can affect your hands. Additionally, washing your hands with cold water can temporarily minimize perspiration, particularly if you run the water over your wrists. The cold water will slightly decrease the temperature of the blood in your hands for a short time. Another tip is to wipe some antiperspirant on your palms right before the interview or business event. But test this technique in advance to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction. Similarly, baby powder can be applied to temporarily absorb hand perspiration.
Imagine the “big scoop.”
In terms of technique, imagine that your forefingers are like one big scoop. Reach up from your hip like a gunfighter in an old western. It may sound silly, but reaching up from below elicits a stronger handshake than just trying to reach across at a single level.
Be firm but not overly aggressive.
A proper handshake should be firm, but never use it as an opportunity to see who has the strongest grip. This isn’t arm wrestling. The line between confident and cocky jerk can be very thin. Practice a firm handshake, not a knuckle crusher.
Don’t forget eye contact.
One of the most important aspects of an effective handshake has nothing to do with the hands. Eye contact is one of the cornerstones of nonverbal communication and can carry as much weight as the handshake itself. Look the other person directly in the eye before, during, and after the handshake. Doing so will help you display confidence without even saying a word.
A great handshake can set the tone for a great interview or networking event, but it can take some practice to get it right. Try these techniques and tips to avoid the dreaded “hand globbler.”