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How to Shake Hands Like a Professional

For entry-level young professionals, there are a myriad of office-related rules to follow. These are rarely talked about so it’s hard to master them as a young professional. But this is YoungFinances! We talk about taboo topics. The purpose of this post is to show you how to shake hands like a professional. Few people discuss it but it’s important to know. After all, not knowing how to make a good handshake could ruin an interview. It sounds silly but it’s true. Many people hold a lot of stake in a handshake.
You must master the art of the handshake. And I’m not using ‘art’ lightly. It takes skill to do it properly. If you don’t think so, shake the hand of a child. They don’t know how to do it well. Furthermore, go to a networking event. Many people there don’t give confident handshakes. Heck, even go to church and shake hands with the people around you. It’s not something everyone has been trained on.
[Tweet “Learning how to do a proper handshake is important. No one likes to feel like they’re shaking a dead fish.”]
But men and women can both master this skill by following the rules outlined below:

Knowing When to Shake Hands

According to Psychology Today, the old rule that communication is broken down into 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken, is true in most cases. Of course, some people may cross their arms because they’re cold, not because they dislike you. In these cases, it’s necessary to take into account their personal environment.
All things equal, body language is incredibly important. The statistic that most language is nonverbal (55%) is true. This means you have to approach every encounter with professionalism and confidence.
There are certain definitive times you will need to shake hands. They include:
  • Job interviews
  • Initial meetings of coworkers and your supervisor
  • Greeting and saying goodbye to business partners or clients
  • When acting as a host for an event
  • When introduced as a guest at an event

How to Properly Shake Hands

The best handshake does not try to dominate the other person but it does display strength along with respect. The best way to shake hands is to follow this basic outline:
  1. Go in straight for the handshake, with your palm vertical to the ground. Don’t put your palm over the other person’s palm, as this signifies dominance. Dominance is not something a young professional wants to convey in most circumstances. It may come off as arrogance and disrespect for the status quo. Save the palm-over-palm technique for when you’re the boss.
  2. Clasp the entire hand, curling your index finger and thumb slightly in to each other.
  3. Squeeze their hand and release after approximately 2-5 seconds. During this time, the other person may pump your hand up and down from the elbow.
  4. Make eye contact while introducing yourself. In most cases, your superior will start the introduction and offer their hand to you first. Respond with a proper handshake while making eye contact and say your name.

If you’re uncertain of the importance of proper hand shaking, realize that a poor hand shake generally reflects negatively on you.

For better or worse, many people base their assumptions about you on how you shake hands. Do you approach a hand shake professionally and decisively, or do you shy away and offer a limp handshake? Do you try to overpower your client? Or do you respectfully grasp their hand and release?

How you handle these interactions can shape how others think of you. Learning how to properly shake hands is not an insurmountable task. I recommend practicing this technique with people which you are comfortable. It takes a little practice but it can be mastered fairly quickly.
Good luck and inspire confidence!

Originally posted 2015-07-29 10:00:26.