The Handshake. Not As Easy As It Sounds.


The handshake. Doesn’t sound too scary… or does it?! I don’t mean to scare you, but getting the handshake right really is very important.

Whether you are at a networking event, going on a job interview, interviewing a candidate, or just greeting someone in general life, there are a few handshakes which should be firmly avoided.

These are my personal top 5 ‘avoid these handshakes’ handshakes… I’d love to hear your comments reminiscing about your experiences of good, bad and perhaps ugly handshakes too.

1. Wet Fish

We have all experienced one of these. It is instantly off-putting when introducing yourself, and really very unpleasant to be on the reciprocal end of one. Be confident and firm with your handshake.

2. Finger Crusher

Over-confidence, otherwise known as arrogance is the very opposite of the Wet Fish handshake. You will come across as over-bearing and instil wariness in the other person. What’s more, it actually hurts!

3. Awkward

Hostile body-language, avoiding eye contact… just because your handshake is firm that doesn’t mean you can avoid all other elements that communicate manners and trust.

4. The gloved handshake

Come on, only the Queen can really get away with this.

5. The hand hug

This is the classic two handed handshake. One hand does the shaking, the other clasping over the top of both yours and the recipients hands. When done to the right person this can instil a feeling of warmth, friendship and trust; not too dissimilar to a hug. But do not use to greet someone for the first time, you will instantly be invading their personal space, leaving them feeling uncomfortable or perhaps even patronised.

Now that I have had a little rant about handshakes to avoid, how do we get it right? Apparently, a proper handshake should last between three to six seconds, be equally balanced with each person’s hands vertically side-by-side, thumbs locked around each other’s upper hand and fingers firmly, but not overbearingly, gripped.

So there you have it… the perfect, proper handshake. Good luck!