Body Language You Can Use

Hand Shake

Do You Know The Common Hand Shake Mistakes?

If you think this is the same old hand shake info, check out the newest hand greeting on the block.

Oh yes, it is H1N1 safe too. It came into existence prior to the current concerns but is an interesting solution to prevent germs.

Warm Hands Will Warm a Heart
On first meeting someone, if you know you will be shaking hands, make sure to warm yours up first. It will make you feel more inviting that if your hand is cold.If your hands are cold all the time, it may be due to a number of health issues. Some serious, some as simple as needing more iodine, more magnesium or both.Tip: Hold your ice’ed drink in your left hand so that your right will not also be chilled by your drink prior to greeting someone.

Handshake Opinions

There are numerous opinions on what a hand shake can tell you about someone. Many are floating around the web and in literature. The truth is somewhere between various opinions.

Some literature will say there is no correlation between a handshake and character of an individual. They will offer proof that it is a learned behavior and once you learn it, you think it is the right and only way to do it.

If that is true then what of all the science about body language. Has that now been proved untrue as well?

On the other hand, does a certain kind of hand shake necessarily always mean we are or are not a certain type of person? Does the firmness take into consideration the weakness from arthritis.

What is for certain and what really matters, people will judge you by your hand shake. There is an etiquette for shaking hands that needs to be followed to advance your career.

“Ninety percent of what we think about a person is determined in the first ninety seconds we meet them.” -Anonymous

Do not get hung up on hand shake meaning unless it is the meaning you might want to project. Some people believe what they read even if it is wrong.

Personality and the Handshake

First, it can tell a bit about personality. To illustrate, if I get a hand written letter with a Zip plus 4, I know the writer is on the ball, detail oriented, and up to date on current business practice provided they live in a area with a “plus 4.”

If I ask some one what their “plus 4” is and they don’t know or even worse don’t know what it is, it tells a little about the person as well.

So what of a hand shake? Well, if a person doesn’t know how to give one properly, it speaks of their business etiquette and acumen. It says they may not have not taken the time for self growth.

What is a Hand Shake?

Although an almost universal form of greeting and almost everyone does it, there are a few basics.

If you meet a woman who is around or over 50, a woman who is quite proper and prim, and or perhaps old fashioned, if you’re a guy, then allow her to extend her hand to shake first. If she does not extend it, neither should you.

There are four conventional ways of offering your hand. Three are conventional and one emerging in the 20’s and younger crowd.

How to Handshake Basics

Palm Vertical to the ground and extending your arm forward as though you were sawing wood with a hand saw. It sends a message of greetings, I am here for you as you for me. We are equals.

Better Tilt your hand slightly so that your palm is pointing to the sky. This subtle body language message is humility and that you are there to help and to serve.

Palm Up I am here to serve you. It can also indicate when first offered, submission or take charge.

Palm Down This is the authoritative position. You are in charge or in authority. You are there to take the lead, to take care of things, to get the job done. However it can also indicate a controlling personality.

Hand in Hand Typically your greeter will offer a hand palm up and before shaking starts the second hand sandwiches yours. Sometimes given to show empathy as with the loss of a loved one.

It is also given when wanting to demonstrate concern or to convey that you’re with a caring individual. It seems to be a favorite of politicians.

It conveys familiarity. Do not use it unless you are close to the individual you do it with, you want to leave a bad impression or you are a politician.

The Middle Five

Related to a high five, a mid five fanning of the hand will be offered from the right side of your greeter and will wave in almost as if to clap your hand and then ending in a traditional shake.

This is something you will only observe in men in their 20’s and younger.

Only engage in it if you are familiar or have become known to the person offering it. Remember, others around may note your gestures in this regard as well.

The Eyes Have It

Maintain eye contact while engaging in shaking hands. Nothing will communicate self confidence, sincerity, and camaraderie more than this one gesture.

The Pressure Is All Mine

The pressure applied in shaking a hand is relative to the culture your in.

In North America, a firm hand shake is appropriate. Make it stronger or weaker than a basic firm grasp and you will leave a negative impression.

Make Mine Dry

Some occasions cause stress and resulting sweaty palms. You won’t get a second chance at a first impression. If you’re meeting and greeting after a speech, you will want to be remembered for your words and not wet hands.

If faced with this challenge, always carry a handkerchief with you to ensure you’re remembered for you and not a damp handshake. Use discretion and grace so that it is not noticed that you had to dry.

If you are enjoying a drink, hold it in the left hand until introductions are completed.

Wash your hands with soap and water and dry well prior to a meeting.

Keep your palms open and out of your pockets.

Other Types of Hand Shakes

Including those above there are other types of handshakes. Meanings are implied. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules here. Bottom line, what do you want to project about yourself.

If these have meaning or not, remember that someone may have read up on and imply meaning to your hand shake. So use good form.

Knuckle Bump or Fist Bump

If you were ever young, you probably remember treading into new territories of social norms with a bent toward nonconformity.

Well, today’s youth have a new hand shake that, due to its nonconformity, is actually healthier than traditional handshakes.

It involves both parties making a fist and on meeting and greeting, the fist of each person will meet, knuckles to knuckles.

Before there is a meeting of the mind, there is a meeting of the hands.

Called the knuckle bump or the fist bump, according to a 2010 survey commissioned by Purell, two in five adults are resistant to shaking hands. The biggest fear, germs.

More importantly, 4 out of 5 said that they shake hands less. and almost half of North Americans have chosen the knuckle bump, also known as fist bump, over a traditional hand shake.

Yep, I have even seen a group of writers, all over 65 who knuckle bumped each other at their meeting and greeting each other. And this was in the quite conservative North East Pennsylvania.

Wide Five

The slightly older but still from younger generations is the wide five. As if giving each other a middle five hand slap, the hands wave in from the side in a wide arch. When the hands meet, rather than a slap, there is a more traditional shake.

Remember, these are going to be the new movers and shakers.

Even better, the meeting of the hands is safe, effective, does not spread germs nearly as much as a traditional shaking of hands and is, well, not too weird for older generations. Weird as in fraternity hand shakes.

The Standard Hand Shake

A typical hand shake as described above. Hands are engaged and eye contact made, smiles are exchanged and two to four shakes.

Using Good Form

Raise your hand from your side and extend until webs of both hands meet. Grasp across the palm wrapping fingers around the opposite side from the thumb.

Hold firmly.

Shake a few times or for about three or four seconds.

What if your hands are full? Rather than risk dropping everything, give a polite nod is considered acceptable. If the other person’s hands are full, be kind and don’t offer a hand shake. Your discernment will be noted and appreciated.

If wearing gloves, remove them.

It is customary to stand if you’re caught in an introduction seated.

The Lingering Hand Shake

A standard hand shake with an extra few shakes and holding on for just a few seconds. I find this often happens when old friends meet or with a good bye to someone dear. Between business people, it gives a bit of a chance to communicate positive thoughts.

The Push Off

At the end of the shake, your hand is pushed away. It is subtle but it could be read as a negative message.

The Pull In

The hand shakes results in one pulling the other closer. It speaks of a controlling body language.

The Superior

If offered first palm down, it indicates superiority. It is the body language of a controlling person.

The Lesser

If offered first, palm up, it could indicate humility and being there to serve.

The Finger Cruncher

Rather than grasping across the palm, the fingers are grasped and crushed. It can be painful. The person who does the finger cruncher will say they cant judge their strength but if you watch, they will not shake a woman’s hands the same way. It is almost as if it is sport to give pain.

The Bone Cruncher

Much like the finger cruncher, the same vice like grip is around the hand.

The Palm Pincher

This is usually from a woman, and only a few fingers and thumb grasp the palm for the shake.

The Twister

This may start off as a normal shake but ends up with one twisting and putting the other on top. Sometimes it is incorporated with a pull in. It speaks of a controlling personality.

The Dead Fish

This is a cold, sometimes wet, unemotional shaking of hands. It is the definition of apathy.

Hand Shake Mastery

Mastering the standard hand shake can help you progress in your career. Don’t get hung up on what it all means unless it is what it could mean about you and the personality you’re projecting.

If others judge you, may your hand shake improve the impression you leave.

One Last Thought

Do not forget the cultural differences from around the world. It would be improper for a woman to offer her hand to some sects of the Jewish Faith.

In some countries, it is normal for men to walk down the street holding hands. Nothing more is meant nor is happening other than they are good friends.

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