Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Art of Handshake

Why is the handshake so fascinating yet, unheeded?

Society is impacted by many facets, one of those happens to be the handshake. Going as far back as the 5th century BC in ancient Greece we find archeological images and text of ancients shaking hands. What did this symbolize?

In an era were war was predominant a handshake represented peace. “Demonstrating that no weapons could be held in the hand.” -Wiki.

What is the psychology behind the handshake?

Katie Gilbert published an article In The Handshake on psychology today explaining that the handshake is part of our body language and how we communicate with others. She also gives handshake tips and etiquettes which we will get to in a moment.

There is so much to know about handshakes, the do’s and don’ts, the diverse cultural aspect as well as the universal language. Experts on handshakes, yes, experts, give a full detail on the handshake practice. For some people this comes naturally, for others it’s very awkward and can do more harm when beginning a relationship.

So what do you do with a handshake?

Coming from experience I understand, observe and have written about rapport and body language. This matters to me because in business and relationship building you want to gain the other person’s trust. As I have discussed your first impression matters.

Trust leads to new opportunity’s and possibilities.

Do you remember your first handshake? Who was it with? How did you feel about it? This habit of yours has become just that, a habit. You don’t think about the handshake but, I believe you should. Behind every good and bad handshake is a human.

Now let me ask you this; when was your last handshake? Do you remember who it was with? Did you pay attention to the process?

Are you a crusher, soggy noodle, or an even-steven hand shaker? What do these types of handshakes mean?

There are many types of handshakes, I am only giving some of the more common examples to help you understand that the handshake is varied based on your intention and character.  How can so many factors influence a handshake? The culture you come from, the experience, the awareness or lack of.

Giving someone a firm grip and holding on for too long can be very direct, and dominating. Hanging on like a soggy noodle is a sign of weakness and dubiousness. If you were going to stop reading this post now than the following is the utmost important piece of information and this will be my message through this post.

The even-steven handshake is a reciprocated handshake. One that you must master because it is the one that will portray confidence, openness and trust.

I am self conscious about handshakes, and my intuition tells me that it would help for you to be as well. When someone puts their hand out adjust your handshake according to there’s in terms of the firmness of the grip, the longevity of the shake and in my culture, Canadian, making eye contact with the recipient while shaking their hand. It shows a sign of respect and authority.

If you are in a sitting position, stand up to shake someone’s hand. It doesn’t matter what rank or status you may have; it shows that you care about the individual who is reaching out to shake your hand. If you don’t care, then avoid the handshake all together.

How much does body language attribute to our conversation? Experts place that percentage as high as 2/3. Body language matters, the handshake can speak louder than words. Therefore, wouldn’t you want to be conscious about your initial introduction, more importantly your technique?

Who leads the handshake? What about using both hands for a handshake? Those are great questions to consider when giving a handshake, let’s be brief here.

You should always lead the handshake because it signals confidence to the recipient. Placing one hand over the handshake or on the other individual’s elbow should only be done once the relationship has been established and ill explain why.

You will come off imposing when doing the handover on your first introduction with someone. However, when you have already established a relationship it shows a sign of willingness to be honest, caring and sincerity.

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