What Does Your Handshake Say About You?



Bored at work? This summer, AOL Jobs will be publishing a career quiz every week to keep you entertained. This quiz was so popular with readers when it originally ran that AOL is republishing it.

Have you ever shaken someone's hand and in the same instant, felt every bone in your fingers and palm shatter? Or, even worse, felt like you were shaking the fin on a dead fish?

Handshakes have been around since the birth of civilization. In fact, they were originally a way to prove you had no weapons in your hand when meeting someone new (given today's state of affairs, that might not be a bad idea). Nowadays, we use handshakes in meetings, greetings, offering congratulations, closing a business deal or sometimes just to say, "How's it goin'?"
No matter the basis of your handshake, it should become part of your repertoire. Handshakes are a sign of trust and help build strong relationships. Imagine meeting a well-groomed, well-dressed expert for the first time -- but when you shake his/her hand, you feel like you're grabbing an infant's finger.

Prospective employers said they're more likely to overlook visible body piercings and tattoos than an ineffective handshake, according to a 2001 survey of human resources professionals. Plus, when you shake hands with people upon meeting, they're two times more likely to remember you than if you didn't shake hands, according to a study by the Incomm Center for Trade Show Research.

The time has come to find out if your grip is powerful, pathetic or just plain bad. Pamela J. Holland and Marjorie Brody, workplace/career experts and co-authors of "Help! Was That a Career Limiting Move?" say it's time to practice.


10 nightmarish handshakes to avoid

To evade making a bad first impression, losing a business deal or simply embarrassing yourself, take heed of Holland and Brody's 10 terrible grips to avoid:
  • The "macho cowboy"... is the almost bone-crunching clasp many businessmen use to shake hands. What are they trying to prove, anyway?

  • The wimp... is usually delivered by men who are afraid to "hurt the little lady" when shaking women's hands. Modern female professionals expect their male counterparts to convey the same respect they'd show their male colleagues.

  • The "dead fish"... conveys no power. While there's no need to revert to the macho cowboy death grip, a firm clasp is more powerful than one that barely grabs the hand.

  • The "four finger"... is when the person's hand never meets your palm, and instead clasps all four fingers, crushing them together.

  • The cold and clammy... feels like you're shaking hands with a snake. Warm up your hand first before grabbing someone else's.

  • The sweaty palm... is pretty self-explanatory, and pretty gross. Talcum powder to the rescue.

  • The "I've got you covered" grip... happens when the other person covers your hand with his or her left hand as if your shake is secretive.

  • The "I won't let go"... seems to go on for eternity because the other person won't drop his or her hand. After two or three pumps, it's time to let go. "It's a lot like a kiss -- you know when it's over," Brody says.

  • The "southpaw"... happens when the person uses the left hand to shake because the right hand has food or a drink. Always carry your drink and plate with your left hand to keep your right one free for meet and greets.

  • The "ringed torture"... occurs when the person's rings hurt your hand. Try to limit the number of rings you wear on the right hand to only one or two and be mindful of any that have large stones.



Three steps to a proper handshake

Some other things to keep in mind:
  • As you're approaching someone, extend your right arm when you're about three feet away. Slightly angle your arm across your chest, with your thumb pointing up.

  • Lock hands, thumb joint to thumb joint. Then, firmly clasp the other person's hand -- without any bone crushing or macho posturing.

  • Pump the other person's hand two to three times and let go.



Six tips to an effective meet & greet

  • Stand up
  • Step or lean forward
  • Make eye contact
  • Have a pleasant or animated face
  • Shake hands
  • Greet the other person and repeat his or her name


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moeelmore

First find out where you are shaking hands and with whom. Not all societies or ethnic groups use a hand shake and do not deal well with them. Example: Asians, arabs and some others usually offer a very soft or inactive hand to another. Same with people not meeting your eyes, some societies consider direct eye contact as being disrespectull or challenging. A hearty voice can be considered to signify poor education, low class origins and as a way of drawing undesired attention. Americans have one standard and other nations shake hands every time they meet one another - and still others have a stylized form of shaking hands, some times using both hands. A lot more out there than just firm vs wet noodle etc.

July 20 2012 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nikkitytom

Fir heavens sake. We're not carrying clubs and machetes around with us nowadays. But we're still carrying all sorts of germs. Time to jettison this awful custom. It's unpleasant and terribly invasive of one's physical person. As a woman, I find it distasteful to be touched by a male outside of my family and I resent that extended hand whcih forces me to accept it. And I am horrified that 40% of males do not wash their hands after using the bathroom and still expect people to touch that hand. Horrible.

Why does America seem to nurture more colds and flus than any other country ... people are constantly sick with minor but uncomfortable ailments ....? I'd say handshaking is a large part of it.

I make every excuse I can to avoid that handshake ... and if Imust, I get to a washroom as quickly as possible to wash my hands .... or grab a hand sanitizer. Since I started avoiding handshakes and touching doorknobs, I'm rarely sick.

July 20 2012 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

Have a pleasant or animated face? WTH kinda advice is this?

Not sure what it is exactly to have an animated face, but doesn't sound very professional to me...I'd probably think something was wrong with the other person or that they were on drugs or something.

"You lookin' kinda goofy there son!"

July 20 2012 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SMRTNUP

Having been in business for many years I can tell you that developing a "Good" and pleasant way of shaking hands is as important as being well groomed ! . . . This article described the process of hand shaking very well. . . Over enthusiasm is just as much of a turn-off as lack of spirit and the acceptible degree of enthusiasm ! . . There's nothing more detrimental to a first impression than a "Wet Noodle", . . Limber, Limp and weak hand shake, . . and, . . In a close second place is one that is too firm and too aggressively hard and feels as though you're being used as practice for a strong-man contest ! . . . In training classes for newly hired people I had a session on just "How To Shake Hands Properly", . . and would have the trainees practice shaking hands with each other and to rotate around the room so they could get a feel for what's wrong and what's right ! . . . You might consider incorporating this valuable lesson for your entire staff if you're in a business wherein your employees are constantly meeting new people every day ! . . . It's that important and can contribute greatly to make of break a new company representative. . .

July 20 2012 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SMRTNUP

Having been in business for many years I can tell you that developing a "Good" and pleasant way of shaking hands is as important as being well groomed ! . . . This article described the process of hand shaking very well. . . Over enthusiasm is just as much of a turn-off as lack of spirit and the acceptible degree of enthusiasm ! . . There's nothing more detrimental to a first impression than a "Wet Noodle", . . Limber, Limp and weak hand shake, . . and, . . In a close second place is one that is too firm and too aggressively hard and feels as though you're being used as practice for a strong-man contest ! . . . In training classes for newly hired people I had a session on just "How To Shake Hands Properly", . . and would have the trainees practice shaking hands with each other and to rotate around the room so they could get a feel for what's wrong and what's right ! . . . You might consider incorporating this valuable lesson for your entire staff if you're in a business wherein your employees are constantly meeting new people every day ! . . . It's that important and can contribute greatly to make of break a new company representative. . .

July 20 2012 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Decker

I have never liked to shake hands. Lots of people don't wash correctly or not at all after using the restroom. That just grosses me out. I would rather just not shake. If I am at a place that I must then I make sure I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket.

July 20 2012 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KEITHJERREL7

THE BEST SHAKE IS THE YO BRO SHAKE ITS LIKE THE MILITARY ONE IT SHOWS UNITY...THE STANDARD HAND SHAKE IS GOING OUT THE DOOR...ITS OLD HAT...YOKJ

July 20 2012 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrdonsmith2

Be aware of the possibility that the person whose right hand you are about to shake may extend his or her left hand because it has been amputated or is nonfunctional. Always return with your own left: it's most comfortable and completely expected.

July 20 2012 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KEITHJERREL7

WE WIPE OUR ASS WITH THE HAND WE SHAKE WITH...IS THAT GOOD ???

July 20 2012 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktanc29

Oh, those horrible hand shakes! I prefer a genuine smile, look in the eye and a friendly: How are you doing today?

July 20 2012 at 2:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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