If you are appearing for a job interview, meeting that special someone on the first date or conducting a sales call, you must stand out. I am not talking about standing out like clown at the rodeo. You must be memorable. You must make that personal connection. Your appearance, your stride, your posture, the tone of your greeting, your smile and your handshake are essential elements. You can practice mock interviews and go through all kinds of tutoring and sales training. You might know your product inside and out and your knowledge may have a bearing as time goes on, but if you flop on the entrance, you may as well pick up your ball and go home.
There is nothing like a firm handshake web to web to establish that personal connection. Do not grip the fingers. Plant the web between the thumb and pointing finger with the target’s web. Practice with a friend and see how your grip is conveyed. I have felt all extremes. One person crushes the hand to the point I have to shake off the tingling loss of feeling, while others have felt like a wilting rose.
In a study at the University of Iowa, they found women with firmer handshakes, were gauged higher and surpassed men with similar shakes. This could be a result of the women separating themselves from the competition. They left a good first and lasting impression.
Adjust the grip as you grab the hand. Just do not engage in a battle of manliness to overcome the death grip shake. Another subtle technique used by those who want to convey domination is grabbing your hand and either pulling your body towards them or they attempt to give a slight roll of the hand to exert their self-perceived importance. Accept it for what it is and that is an over dominant gesture. Avoid the stabbing shake. This is where if they were carrying a knife, you would have to call a homicide detective. Hold your shake until your conversational partner begins to extend their hand.
Don’t be a lingerer. You know the one that won’t release the grip. Two seconds in and out. Squeeze and release. The lingerers are viewed again as being dominating and the extra long grip could be viewed as creepy.
If your hands are cold, warm them up in your pocket, rub them together, or head to the warm water tap in the restroom. A little hand lotion can dull the cracks in the pavement, but be cautious. Make sure there is plenty of time for the lotion to absorb, so you are not giving a slimy shake.
I encountered an individual who suffered from overly sweaty grip. My associate also noticed slippery shake. Mr. Sweaty Palms returned the next day and his overly moist hands were still perspiring. This response could be from nervousness or a medical condition. If you have this problem, you might consider a dew rag in your pocket or a sprinkle of powder. After shaking his hand, my only thought was to run to the rest room and wash the germs.
Practice makes perfect. Shake hands with a friend to determine the message you are delivering with your handshake. Remember to lead with a heartfelt smile and maintain eye contact. The handshake will cement the relationship and rapport.
For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6