Get a grip

If there is one thing I can't stand in the business world, it is someone who doesn't know how to properly shake a hand. Too tight of a grip, you are trying to prove something. Too loose of a grip, I get the impression I could crush you. Avoid eye contact or speak too softly, you appear to be insecure. Stare too hard into my eyes and I fear you are trying to see through my soul. It is an art that I would encourage you to master, especially since you will be forced to do it throughout most of your adult life. So what do you need to pay attention to?

1. Eye Contact

Whether you are shaking someone's hand or talking to them about blueberries, you should be looking them in the eye. Don't stare into their soul as if your eyes were lasers, but rather look them straight in the eyes.

2. Smile

As you begin to take a step towards them, make sure you look them in the eye and smile as you stick out your hand to introduce yourself. Make sure it is genuine and not some overly cheesy grin that will make people think you are fake. 

3. The right hand

When you shake hands use one hand, not two (and make sure it is the right one). You should be grabbing the middle of their hand so that the webs of your thumbs meet. Don't just stick your fingers into someone's hands (that’s just weird) or come in so hard that you crush the other person's hand (what are you trying to prove?). If I know that I am going to be shaking someone's hand and I feel like mine are sweaty, I inconspicuously wipe off my hand on my pantleg before my hand ever touches theirs. 

4. Speak from your diaphragm

When you do utter the words, "Hello, my name is ...", the other person should be able to hear you. They should be able to clearly make out your name.  Whispering/speaking softly only communicates that you are insecure.

5. Gender doesn't matter

Whether you are the Duchess of Cambridge or Dwayne Johnson, all of these same principles apply. Even you deem yourself a lady, you should not be sticking just your fingers into the hands of the person across from you or if you are a professional wrestler, you shouldn’t think you need to crush the other person’s hand to prove your manliness.

I personally like to give feedback at the end of an interview. More often than not, one of the pieces of advice that I give to the interviewee is that they need to work on their handshake. Don't let something as simple as a handshake give off the wrong impression to an interviewer, someone you are selling to, or even a future colleague.

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