Giving someone the Fish

The handshake is the most common form of greeting in business. You shake hands thousands of times each year, but are you doing it wrong every time and people are just too polite to correct you?

First, is there a right and wrong way to shake hands? Yes, there is! Here are a few common pitfalls I see students making every day:

The Fish
Don’t give someone the fish. By “giving someone the fish,” I mean a really loose and wimpy handshake. Be firm in your approach!

Too Aggressive
While you don’t want your handshake to be fishy, you also don’t want to cripple your new acquaintance. Firm is good, but don’t squeeze too hard.

How many pumps?
We have all gotten the handshake that never ends. Up, down, up, down, up, down – too many pumps. Generally, 2 is the accepted number of pumps. If in doubt, shake hands as long as it takes you to determine the color of the other person’s eyes. It should be about 3 seconds.

Gender Differences
Should you shake less firmly with women? No. We are in a new millennium, equal handshakes for all.

The handshake is an integral part of your first impression. It is such a brief component to your overall presentation, yet so crucial and so easy to mess up. Use these tips to perfect your handshake and seek feedback from your friends; people may be too polite to correct you if you don’t specifically ask for feedback!

Kelli Lampkin

Kelli Lampkin is a writer, traveler, comedienne, and entrepreneur.

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