THE BLOG
01/21/2016 02:43 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2017

Handshaking

Business Protocol
Topic: Handshaking

You can tell a lot about a person by their handshake. Shake hands like you mean it, like you want to be remembered in all positive ways!

Handshaking furnishes important and empowering information about the other person... nervousness, interest, anxiety, reticence, distance, sympathy, etc., which you can use to your advantage!

No one is born knowing anything and Next Generation leaders are not being taught... and if this is the case, how can we expect America's future leaders to know? We should all try to prepare and groom our young adults as they come into their own and prepare to enter the world of business.

Wherever you are in the world, professionals shake many hands. Whether on a plane, at a business meeting, traveling overseas, attending an industry function, or meeting clients at a restaurant, showing you know how to most respectfully execute a professional handshake will set you apart and show you as a person "well-met."

Origin:
The origin of handshaking dates back to the time of kings and castles. Whenever two knights would approach each other on horseback they would hold up their right arm as a gesture of peace... and thus evolved the art of Handshaking as we know it today.

Although there are different types of handshakes here in the U.S. and in other parts of the world, handshaking is the most common form of greeting in the world today. Whenever we shake hands, we are sending and receiving volumes of powerful, empowering information.

Handshaking is a form of greeting, saying farewell, a sign of a promise or sealing a bargain. ... Do you remember when the "gentleman's handshake" was not an uncommon way to seal a deal?

*The Number One Rule regarding shaking hands: whenever you shake hands, always STAND as a sign of respect.

Please consider the following handshakes:

THE CORRECT HANDSHAKE
Connect the "V" of our right hand with the "V" of the other person's right hand - between the thumb and index finger of each hand. Resist the urge to stop at the knuckle. Get IN to the "V" and connect. Pump one to two times. Make eye contact.*
Steps:
1. Step IN toward the other person.
2. Tilt your head to the side (for warmth).
3. Tuck your left hand behind your back to eliminate the left dangling arm; ... the
"Presidential Pose."
Shake hands with authority and conviction. Make excellent eye contact and offer a warm and sincere smile.

THE FINGERTIP HOLDER
The Fingertip Holder (together with the limp wrist) - This person prefers to keep others at a distance. Often, this is an older, reticent individual (silently) saying, "I know I must shake hands... let's just do this, get it over with."

THE BONE-CRUSHER
The Bone-Crusher - An overly aggressive individual is actually over-compensating for their insecurity or anxiety.

Remember: 94.7% of all adults are a bit nervous or anxious prior to any meeting, networking event, presentation, ... even a party! Therefore, if you are ever feeling a bit nervous, anxious or insecure, please know you are not alone. There is no need to bone-crush the other person's hand.

DOMINANT HANDSHAKE
The Dominant Handshake - Typically, (some) men will extend their hand in this way to a woman (whom they feel they can control, consciously or subconsciously). They are silently trying to impose themselves and dominate. Ladies, do not empower this handshake. Quickly and without comment swing their right hand upright to the vertical position. Gently yet firmly, with good eye contact (and a twinkle in your eye), flash your infectious smile. You will be "well met" and indeed, an individual with whom to be reckoned.

DOUBLE-HANDED HANDSHAKE
The Double -Handed Handshake (second hand over their forearm or hand) - is more often used with those you know well, by politicians, or at funerals ("I am so sorry for your loss") and is like a "hand-hug." This is not considered the most professional handshake, however, it is memorable.

THE ON-and ON HANDSHAKE - The silent message being conveyed: "Help! Where do I go from here?" You, fabulous professional, will take control of this awkward yet all-too-familiar situation and offer a firm yet gentle and reassuring squeeze, make good eye-contact, and then gently withdraw your hand.

THE "CLAMMY HANDSHAKE " - Clammy hands betray your anxiety and are the "kiss of death!"
How to eliminate "clammy hands:" Upon entering the building (for the meeting, the interview, presentation or networking event) go to the restroom.... *Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly. Doing so helps eliminate the body oils which tend to encourage "clammy hands - the kiss of death!"

Much preparation rightfully goes into our all-important "First Impression," our personal presentation to the world(!) and most basically... our handshake.

International Handshakes
Be aware that in different parts of the world there are different types of handshakes:
France, Germany: One brisk "pump."
Latin American, Arab cultures: A light, lingering handshake; to withdraw your hand too quickly might be misinterpreted as an insult.
Japan: A handshake and a bow. There are three levels of bow: the 15, 35 and 50 angles. Each person steps aside to their left and will then bow (avoid butting heads). The more senior the executive, the lower the bow. Meetings should be scheduled "level-to-level," and bows should be bestowed according to rank, status and even age, as age is highly revered in Japan.

Kissing
Kissing is a European tradition, although it is now seen more here in the U.S. today, as we are more of a global culture.
"Air kissing" is considered an affectation. If you are going to kiss, touch the cheek with your lips or a corner of your lips. In business, if your relationship suggests a kiss upon greeting or saying farewell, kiss discreetly, i.e., in the lobby or your private office, not the boardroom.
The French are known for two kisses, one on each cheek, starting right to left, as with the handshake.
Italians: Two or even four kisses, alternating cheeks, for a very formal greeting or award recognition.
The Germans and Brits are a bit more reserved with kisses, especially in business.
In Spain, kiss twice, and again, start with the right cheek.
The American South: Kissing is common. Read (their) body language and go with it, regardless of how you feel about personal space issues.

Be careful about assuming this level of intimacy too soon in the relationship.
We are global. When first meeting others we need to be on our toes and at the ready for whatever type of handshake (or other form of greeting) is extended.

Top Tips:
- Remove gloves (and sunglasses) before shaking hands, thereby eliminating barriers.....The only person (in the world) permitted to shake hands with gloves ON is: The beloved Queen of England!
Remember, we want nothing to interfere with the warmth we endeavor to establish as we work to build trust to grow critical interpersonal relationships.
- Come out from behind the barrier of the desk. (If unavoidable, shake hands across the desk, however, acknowledge, and say, "Please excuse the desk.")

Because there are no gender rules in business, whoever initiates the handshake, initiates, acquires and maintains control - always the goal, throughout the relationship building process. Always try to reach out first.