How important is the handshake?



Did you know that a small gesture like a handshake can be crucial for your professional success? Not many people attach importance to it, but the truth is that the handshake can dictate the entire course of a professional conversation – after all, it is the first contact between you and other people and the first impression is the one that stays, right?

In this post, we’ll tell you more about the power of the handshake for your career and give you some tips on how to craft the best handshake to help you in a job interview.

So, how important it really is?

We know that speech is not the only way we communicate with another person. Gestures, facial expressions, and postures – the famous body language – are also responsible for transmitting emotions, intentions, and even personality traits.

You know that story about someone who is lying usually crosses his arms or legs, adopting a defensive posture? This is a great example of how body language is able to send a message and cause a certain impression on the interlocutor.

This is precisely why the handshake is so important: it can reveal traits of your personality and state of mind. If you are an insecure person or are feeling afraid, for example, your handshake can give you away.

And if you think this is all nonsense, think again: Forbes magazine published the results of studies that prove that a good handshake can significantly improve the quality of an interaction, producing a greater degree of intimacy and trust in a matter of seconds.

In the same vein, other research has shown that a good handshake before a social contact increases the impact of a positive interaction and decreases the impact of a negative impression. So if you happen to say something stupid during the conversation, that handshake at the beginning of the conversation can be your salvation!

For all these reasons it is indispensable to invest in a good handshake in professional situations. After all, if your greeting is too weak or too strong, for example, it can affect the entire opinion that a prospective employer or a client will form about you – and this can be crucial to your success!

What to Avoid in a Handshake?

what can be considered a bad handshake? There are six types of handshakes that should be avoided at all costs in a professional situation like a job interview, for example.

See if you recognize any of them as your own, and if so, get rid of them at all costs!

The hasty one
A too quick greeting is not even impolite, but it can end up giving the impression that you don’t have time to waste on the other person or that the situation doesn’t deserve your consideration. Therefore, avoid extremely quick handshakes.

The long one
On the other hand, a very long handshake should also be avoided. By prolonging the greeting too long, your interlocutor may become uncomfortable with the situation and worse: with the impression that you are so desperate that you don’t want to let go of the opportunity at all – literally!

The Hulk
Many people still believe that a strong handshake is synonymous with a show of power. However, this type of greeting can jeopardize everything in a job interview, as it demonstrates a need for dominance on the part of the candidate.

The slacker
Just as it is not advisable to use excessive force, you also need to avoid a handshake that is too loose. This type of greeting is synonymous with passivity and lack of commitment, which is not an interesting characteristic for a good professional, right?

The wet one
It is perfectly understandable to be nervous before a job interview or at a meeting with an important client. However, a sweaty handshake does not go over well! With it, your nervousness is immediately revealed, which can make it difficult to build a trusting relationship between you and your interlocutor.

The distracted one
If you’ve ever greeted someone who didn’t look directly at you and kept wandering his or her eyes around the room, you’ve encountered the distracted handshake. This kind of behavior is detrimental to your career, because it gives the impression that the situation is so uninteresting that anything else is more likely to hold your attention.

What does the ideal handshake look like?

Now that you know the points to avoid, it’s easier to understand what can be considered a good handshake. To help you with this task, we have listed some tips that make all the difference when it comes time for a good handshake.

Be prepared
The first step to take is to be prepared. If you know that in a few moments you will meet someone who can influence your career, keep your right hand free from now on: this prevents that awkward situation of getting in the way of changing hands while your interlocutor is waiting with outstretched hands.

If you sweat a lot on your hands, dry them discreetly on your clothes before greeting someone.

Pay attention to posture
Body language is so important that it deserves attention not only when shaking hands, but also before shaking hands. So if you are sitting down, stand up before you shake someone’s hand; if you are standing up, keep your hands visible and out of your pockets – this shows that you are open to a new interaction and gives the impression of more honesty.

Make eye contact
Making eye contact during the greeting is essential to demonstrate trust and interest. As we said earlier, you don’t want to appear distracted at such an important moment for your career, right?

Be firm
Employ some firmness in your handshake, but without crushing your counterpart’s hand! This will demonstrate that you are a confident and assertive person. If you are not sure what a firm handshake is, use the same force that the other person is using.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all the benefits that a good handshake can bring to your career.