We Are Always Saying Something (P2)–Your Handshake

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Last week, in WAASS Part I, I blogged about offering a genuine smile and what our smile communicates about us. I also discussed the importance of being congruent– sending out the messages that we truly mean to send in everything that we do. Today, I’d like to discuss a behavior that makes the short-list of one of my top 10 pet peeves–a weak handshake.

If it’s one thing that annoys me, it’s a weak, limp finger-touch “handshake”–the kind where the person lightly and quickly holds your fingers as if they (or you) have a communicable disease that they are afraid of spreading (or getting). I can’t stand it!

As I also mentioned in WAASS Part I, everything we do–every single thing–communicates something about us, whether we want it to or not and whether it’s the truth or not. The bottom line Is, perception is the truth. Whatever others perceive as reality is. Therefore, even if it may not be your intention to send out a certain message, if that’s the message your receivers are picking up, that is what is real to them. So, what do we do about it? The only thing we can do: attempt to be clear–minimize as much static as possible–in what we want to say about ourselves and what others might perceive.

A weak, limp handshake or finger touch says, “I am a weak, limp, person. I do not feel confident about myself and neither should you. You probably shouldn’t even be meeting me because I’m not important. Feel free to forget me immediately-even as I stand here– but hello anyway.”

Is this what you want to say?

If it isn’t, then we need to make sure that we don’t “say” that unconsciously or unwittingly with our body language.

The way to shake hands with someone is to firmly take his or her full hand into yours while looking him or her directly in the eye (with a genuine smile) and hold his or her grasp for at least 2 seconds or 2 pumps.

What does a solid, firm handshake say? It says. “Hello, I am pleased to meet you and you should be pleased to meet me. I am someone you will want to remember because I am confident, competent and congenial.”

In short, a firm handshake says, “I am remarkable!”

And isn’t that what you really want to say?

Stay tuned for WAASS Part III


3 Responses to “We Are Always Saying Something (P2)–Your Handshake”
  1. I enjoy a hearty, firm handshake because I want the recipient of that handshake to know I am really pleased to make his or her acquaintance. I enjoy people so I want to make them feel comfortable on meeting me for the first time.

  2. wimpy…wimpy…wimpy!!…. pisses me off too particularly when the person looks as strong as an ox. I recently met with a contractor who gave me a very reasonabke estimate on some work I neded done. I refrained from hiring him because his handshake was so lame I thought that his work might be just as unimpressive

    • Nicolette James says:

      I agree! I can’t say enough. I, too, have been instantly turned off from interviewees who have given an otherwise acceptable interview only to shake hands with them and get the “limp fish” handshake. It’s the worse. On the flip side, I often have to watch my handshake the other way. I can crush fingers if I’m not paying attention…lol