I saw it again yesterday. I watched as a woman met someone, and her hand looked like a dead fish, or at best, a cross between a dead fish and someone expecting the recipient to kiss her palm. This sounds terrible to say but I felt embarrassed for her.
Your handshake etiquette matters. Please know this advice is not solely for professionals. Every human being should have a solid handshake, and I’m not sure why, but I see women far too often wimp out. You can definitely find a balance between a floppy hand and a death grip. (are you laughing at me yet?) 😉
We all meet new people, and a majority of the time, we shake hands as our first introduction. Do you want someone’s first subconscious feeling about you to be wimpy and blah? Your meh handshake etiquette could be doing just that.
Here’s how to give a better handshake etiquette.
Be prepared. Shake with your right hand. Be mindful of not holding so many things that it becomes difficult to properly shake someone’s hand without risking a spilled drink.
Be approachable. Be mindful of a positive body language, a friendly demeanor and smile.
Shake with your thumb up. Do no shake someone’s hand with your palm up (passive/submissive), or palm down (dominating and blech ego move).
Be firm. Don’t aim to reduce someone’s blood circulation… beyond that you’re good. I’m shocked at how many women give me wimpy hand shakes. Clearly enough that I’m compelled to dedicate an entire blog post to it. 😉 Show someone that you’re alive and excited to meet them with a full-palm handshake. The web between your thumbs should meet.
Lastly… PRACTICE. Again, sounds silly but I have led professional development sessions that included practicing hand shakes. I’m on a personal mission to eradicate the dead fish shake. Extreme perhaps, but imagine getting passed over for a job because of your handshake. I swear to you it happens. And, don’t laugh but I’ve forced Sarah, who’s eight, to practice with me as well.
By the way, if you’re at a networking event and you’re wearing a name tag, be sure to put it on your right side; this way when someone shakes your hand, it’s in their direct line of sight. I’m left-handed so I apparently did it wrong for many years. Simple fix!