Learn How To Shake Hands To Be Memorable

Learn how to shake hands to be memorable is one of the key steps in the path to success!

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!  Now that is a fact to remember and in business your first chance to make a good impression is when you meet somebody for the first time.  Your art of the hand shake will identify you as a professional to be remembered or somebody not to be taken seriously and forgotten.

I found an article from Hub Pages that is right on target to give you some good information about the Art of The Handshake so take a moment and read it.  You might learn something new or it may rekindle some things you may have forgotten.

Public Speaking and Communications – The Proper Handshake Introduction

In creating your professional image, there is no one single item that sets the tone for your personal brand other than a proper hand shake. Your hand shake is the single most important tool in your communications tool box. A proper hand shake can smooth the rough waters of the business world and even open new doors of opportunity.

A proper handshake is more than just a greeting. It is also a message about your personality and sends a clear message about your self confidence and ability level. In business, a hand shake is a critical communications tool in making the right first impression.

A proper handshake is simple IF we take the time to understand the rules and practice. Research has shown that we are twice as likely to remember someone IF we shake their hand. What someone remembers about you for a lifetime may be determined by your first 3 second introduction.

Professional Hand Shake
professional hand shake
professional hand shake

Source: http://www.freegreatpicture.com/
Non-Verbal and Verbal Tapestry of Communications

Communicating non-verbally is the first step to verbal communications.

A proper hand shake is the single most important tool in your communications tool box to building a strong and professional and personal brand image.

The Business Handshake
Be Memorable

We are twice as likely to remember someone IF we shake their hand.

Be memorable, build your brand with a proper handshake.

10 Types of Handshakes
Handshake Movement

A proper handshake movement is two steps, extend your arm with your shoulder, then move with your elbow. Do not move your shoulder when you are moving your elbow. The movement is small and very focused.

The Perfect Handshake
Proper Handshake is Pivotal in American Business

Research shows that a good handshake improvesyour odds in getting a job.

Simple but critical non-verbal communication skills such as knowing the proper handshake will allow you to sail through the rough waters of job interviews.

A handshake that is less than perfect can undermine all your business efforts.

A proper handshake is pivotal in American business.

Learn the Rules of Proper Handshakes

Learning the rules and various nuances of handshakes will take you far in business and in life.

Know when not to shake hands. Know what handshakes are to be avoided. Know the timing of a proper handshake.

Practice the 3 simple steps to a proper handshake.

Proper Hand Shake is More Than Movement

The hand shake is more than movement. It is the intermixing of non-verbal cues with verbal communications. A proper hand shake sets the overall tone for a meeting, an introduction and clearly defines your personal brand.

While the art of handshaking does vary within cultures, in the United States the “rules” are pretty universal.


The key to the proper hand shake is to remember communications is intermixed with non-verbal communication ques. If we learn the proper ques, the entire communication process is improved. Often it is stated that “what is not said is the most important part of communications”. You can destroy even great verbiage with inappropriate non-verbal signals.

1. Begin With Eye Contact Before You Extend Your Hand

Communications is a complicated tapestry of both non-verbal and verbal skills. Knowing the non-verbal tools is often more important than the verbal tools.

2. Verbally Introduce Yourself Before You Extend Your Hand

Dale Carnegie stated that IF you extend your hand without your personal introduction verbally, you will appear overly eager and nervous. Remember your hand shake is the pivotal point in building your personal brand – appearing nervous will forever tarnish your brand.

Right Hand Only – The hand shake is always initiated with the right hand. If the right hand is not available, gracefully explain you not able to shake hands at this time.

Confused about the timing about your introduction and extending your hand – watch successful leaders and learn from their timing and non-verbal behavior.

3. Use a Firm Grip and Be Brief

There are many types of hand shakes as the videos showcase. Briefly we will describe the typical mistakes made in offering a hand shake such as the “lady fingers” and the “forceful” grip. A proper hand shake must be firm and brief. Two to three short movements lasting no more than 1-2 seconds is our goal.

Other Tips for Understanding the Nuances of Hand Shakes Remember to be Brief

Yes, we just stated that in step 3, however, I cannot over emphasize this point. Oftentimes, nervousness is shown by extending the hand shake beyond the 2 seconds. A hand shake that is not brief will most assuredly make your associate uncomfortable, leaving them forever with an unfavorable impression of you.

Shake From Your Elbow Not Your Shoulder

The movement for your hand shake must generate from the elbow not the shoulder. It is a hand shake – you are not a tin soldier!

Additionally, make sure your movement is correct. In reality, it is a two step movement, your shoulder moves your arm forward and then your elbow moves.

The very last video entitled “Awesome Hand Shakes” showcases in the first hand shake which they call “The Gentleman’s Hand Shake” the use of both the shoulder and the elbow. Remember you want a focused movement. The shoulder contributes only for the extension not for the actual movement.

“Two Hand” Grip aka Politician Grip – Unless You are a Politician

The political realm here in the United States is denoted by kissing babies and the two handed hand shake. As a general rule, avoid the two handed hand shake. In your tool box for communications, on a rare occasion for an associate you know well and you are congratulating him/her, this hand shake may be appropriate and well received. Remember IF you don’t have the relationship with the individual and you cannot generate the authentic warmth that belongs to this hand shake, leave this hand shake along with kissing babies to the politician. source: When to Go Hand in Hand

Culture Tip

When traveling overseas socially or for business, remember you are representing your country – the United States of America. It is incumbent upon you to learn the rules of the culture that you are traveling to and follow the appropriate customs.

Grandmother’s slogan of When in Rome do as the Romans do is true!

Sanitize Your Hands

If your hands are dirty, wet or have just touched animals, be respectful of others and either sanitize your hands or gracefully explain why you are not able to shake hands.

For your health, sanitize your hands before and after drinking and eating. Teach your children to wash their hands before eating.


“Forceful” Grip Overpowering Hand Grip – Too Much Pressure

Remember our goal is to make our business associates comfortable. A forceful grip is not respectful and will be perceived as condescending.

“Fish Hand” Grip – Too Little Pressure

Men and women alike must always offer a firm hand shake. The fish hand shake or limp hand shake speaks volumes about your character, ability and business acumen.

“Lady Fingers” Grip

In business in the United States, as a female you are an equal and as such you must adhere to the rules of business which include a firm and full hand shake. Extending only your fingers may be appropriate in other settings other countries but this is expressly not acceptable in American business.

If you travel back in time, acting in a play or movie set in the Victorian era, this hand shake of “lady fingers” may be appropriate. Additionally, this hand shake may be appropriate in some parts of the world which brings me to our tip on world travel.

The Art of Manliness!
fun line drawing summarizing how to shake a hand like a man in yellow and black
fun line drawing summarizing how to shake a hand like a man in yellow and black

Source: art of manliness.com
Practice the Handshake
colorful stain glass with handshake
colorful stain glass with handshake
hand shake poster in a stained glass frame
hand shake poster in a stained glass frame

Source: ch-umc.corg
Awesome Handshakes
Handshake Definition

hand·shake (hndshk)

n.1. The grasping of hands by two people, as in greeting or leave-taking.2. Computer Science An exchange of signals between two devices when communications begin in order to ensure synchronization.
source: thefreeonlinedictionary.com

Practice At Church Social Functions

Don’t wait for the need to learn how to shake hands, practice with friends and family. Church is a wonderful venue to work on these three steps (1- eye contact, 2- verbal introduction, 3- brief, firm hand shake). Teach this skill to your children when they are young and watch their self-confidence grow.

Practice Can be Fun

As the “Awesome Handshake” video to the right showcases, practicing a handshake can be fun. While these hand shakes in the fun video are not proper in business, they do allow you to practice and gain your self-confidence.

Goal of the Proper Handshake

The goal of connecting with others is making them comfortable, showcasing your abilities and professionalism. The nuances of the handshake demonstrate your communication skills and management ability. Knowing when not to shake hands is just as important as the proper handshake.

No Conversation Intended – No Handshake

Do not shake hands simply to break an awkward moment and likewise IF you don’t wish to have a conversation do not extend your hand.

Conversation Intended – Hands Are Full or Injured

Likewise, remember you can hold a conversation without a hand shake IF the circumstances for a handshake are clumsy or inconvenient. Remember our goal is to make the other party comfortable. Simply acknowledge your intent and appreciation of the conversation with a nod of your head and retain your hands by your side.

Status & Light House Effect for Your Personal Brand Image

Knowing how to attract and introduce yourself if critical in building your brand image. Here are a couple of tips to help navigate the rough waters of American business.

Tip on Status and Shaking Hands

Just as we always introduce the higher ranking person first, so too, we recognize the status of the individual in business settings. Be conscious of the status and with higher status business associates, let them make the first gesture. Looking eager and dejected is the one item you want to avoid. Smile and beam and wait for them to approach you. Remember you are not hunting for others, you are hunting for others to find you. Casually look around the room for a familiar face and go in that direction. Your goal is to always appear self-confident and continue to build that brand that everyone wants to be around.

Light House Effect and Commanding a Room for Your Personal Brand Image

Jackie Kennedy’s father is said to have taught her to walk into a room and beam as a light house would in the center of darkness similar to a “light house”. This is the correct way to command a room and to present your brand. Remember you are King or Queen of the room, command it, beam with joy and self-confidence. Approach others gracefully and with respect and it will be returned.

Doors Will Open with Great Communications
Doors of Opportunity Will Open

Developing your personal brand, maintaining a consistent image is critical in all walks of life. In business, your professional brand image starts and ends with a “proper handshake”. It is a simple tool to use, easy to learn and will serve you and your family throughout your entire life.

The doors of opportunity exist even in today’s uncertain global economic environment. Finding the right opportunity is completely dependent upon you. Building and maintaining your personal brand will provide doors of opportunity for you to walk through. Finding those doors is only possible through your efforts and your connections. To be memorable, you must shake hands. To be respected and sought after, you must keep your personal brand image consistent.

Hand Shape – 3 Tips To Be Memorable
colorful poster detailing 3 tips for a professional hand shake
colorful poster detailing 3 tips for a professional hand shake
3 Take A Ways to Trim Your Sail
1 A Handshake Is a Critical Skill In Life

Our life is built upon a complicated network of personal connections. You will be judged by your handshake. Your handshake is the foundation upon which to build and maintain your personal brand and your professional image. A simple way to navigate the rough waters of business is learning about the proper handshake – know the elements, know the pitfalls, and practice.

Doors of opportunity will open to you if you add this simple tool to your communication tool box.

2 There Is Only One Correct Handshake

There are many different types of handshakes, all of them are distinctive and yet only one type sets the tone for the brand and professional image you are creating. Even if your field is creative, a hand shake must speak to your self-confidence and the image you project. Perception is reality. A proper handshake comprises only three simple steps.

3 Eye Contact and a Verbal Introduction Must Always Accompany the Handshake

We are twice as likely to be remembered IF we shake hands but what they remember may not be favorable if we don’t properly introduce ourselves and make eye contact. The relationships we forge are very valuable, the first impression is the cornerstone. Make your hand shake complete by incorporating the proper handshake with the eye contact and a great verbal introduction.

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I believe the hand shake is one of the most important things you need to master so I hope you learned something that will help you on your road to success!