The power of a handshake

A handshake is not only the most traditional of nonverbal greetings but also a great opportunity to create trust, build rapport and make a lasting impression. A study run by the Income Center for Trade Shows showed that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them.Through the numerous nervous endings on our skin, people receive a lot of information about you and, based on them, make snap judgement about your status, authority and level of confidence. Therefore, it is important to get it right the first time. Here are some tips:

  • Be the first to extend your hand. Research shows that those who offer their hand first are seen as more confident and intelligent.
  • Keep your body squared off to the other person, facing them fully to signal that they have your attention.
  • Look directly into the other person’s eyes and smile.
  • Offer your hand in a vertical position. When a person offers their hand with the palm up, it is considered to be a submissive gesture. Conversely, when someone offers their hand with the palm down, it sends a message of superiority. People who offer their hand in a vertical position, send a message of equality and confidence.
  • Make sure that you have palm to palm, web to web contact, to encourage trust. Research shows that if we don’t give full palm contact, people might think that we have something to hide.
  • Give the same pressure you receive. Don’t give a super firm handshake to a person whose handshake is limp. Always try to match the pressure. That said, remember that women with a firm handshake are seen as more assertive and confident.

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