Despite what many may believe, handshakes do say a lot about our personalities. This doesn’t mean you can’t change your handshake or train yourself to give someone a firm handshake. It’s a lot more than just grabbing someone’s hand and giving it a firm shake. A handshake is probably one of the oldest forms of non-verbal communication. This form of introduction can make or break the introductory process. That is, depending on the situation. There are a few basic rules every working professional must know, however. Read on to find out how your handshake might reveal a little more than what you intend it for:
1. The Dominant Handshake
Someone who goes in for a dominant handshake will flip the other person’s hand to face downwards. While some will see it as a sign of aggression, those who swear by it, believe it to be an extremely confident and dedicated approach. Many see this handshake as a sign of a power-struggle and those who prefer this type of handshake are said to be of controlling nature. They like things going their way and rarely diverge from a set path. You don’t want to make the other person feel like you’re trying the upper hand by forcing their palm upwards.
2. The Double-Handed Handshake
If someone shakes your hand and places another hand at the back of it, it’s a sign that they’re accepting your more dominant position and are open to communicating. It’s a way of them saying, “Let’s talk about it”. However, if someone places their second hand on top of your hand, it could be a sign of them not trusting you. These forms of handshakes are rare and often observed amongst older people rather than younger ones.
3. The Limp Fish Handshake
Do you like it when your biscuit dissolves in your tea? No? Well, imagine shaking hands with the human equivalent of it. Gross, right? Many people see a limp handshake as a sign of meekness. Employers and colleagues often see it as a sign of a lack of confidence and firmness. They’re going to assume that you’re a pushover and aren’t going to stand up to them. If you think employing a limp handshake with women because you think they can’t handle a firm handshake, think again. Women professionals will think of you as being respectful if you greet them the same way you greet your male colleagues.
4. The Bone Crushing Handshake
When we say dominant, we don’t mean “the rock crushing James Franco’s hand in 127 Hours” level of dominant. Grabbing someone’s hand and squeezing it to the point of cutting off their air-circulation isn’t a wise idea. It’s a good idea to practice your handshake on friends and others close to you before you attempt it on a colleague or worse, your boss. Most people will immediately be put off by this type of handshake and you will come across as someone who overcompensates.
5. The Lingering Handshake
Much loved by President Trump, this handshake involves you holding onto the other person’s hand for far longer than the unspoken two-second rule. In the case of President Trump, he does this and pulls the other person in close. Maybe he thinks it’s a sign of establishing trust? By lingering and holding on too long, you come across as desperate to the other person. Although you wouldn’t want to rush it, it’s a good idea to follow the two-second rule and no more.
6. The Look Away Handshake
Do you have a hard time keeping your eyes on the person you’re shaking hands with? A good handshake doesn’t just start and end with your grip style. It’s all about bringing the person in with a smile and making them feel like they’re the most important person in the world. Eye contact, open body language and a smile can make a world of a difference. Of course, this should be done in accordance with the situation in question. For obvious reasons, you can’t shake hands with a grieving widow while sporting a wide grin.
7. The Intense Glare Handshake
Just as it’s not okay to avoid the gaze of the person whose hand you’re shaking, it’s not okay to stare at them too intensely either. Staring at them intensely while shaking their hands will most likely scare them off, and they’ll be highly intimidated by your presence. Many people see this as a form of aggression and they would probably avoid sharing an elevator with you. It’s not a good idea to squint your eyes or purse your lips while doing this, either. Just make sure your gaze comes across as open and friendly rather than difficult and violent.
Contrary to popular belief, the right kind of handshake isn’t difficult to learn; it just takes some time and practice. If you open your mind to it, you can change your handshake style at any age. What types of handshake mistakes are you guilty of making? Let us know in the comments below.
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