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How to Leave a Great Impression with a Confident Handshake

It has been said that people get an impression of you within the first few seconds. Usually this isn’t so important, this impression can adapt and change after a few seconds. But there are times, for example, before a job interview or meeting someone important that you want to impress, where the first impression is the most important.
In these situations it is important to show self confidence and openness, and this can be achieved with a great confident handshake.

A handshake can tell a lot about the power relationships

The history of the handshake [1] actually goes back many centuries, to ancient Greece, where people would shake each others hands as a way to express trust, as shaking hands demonstrates that neither side is carrying a weapon.

Whilst now, there is no thought that anyone might be carrying a weapon, many people believe that the way you shake someone’s hand tells them a lot. Some feel that the way people interact with each other boil down to power relationships [2] . With this in mind it can be very important to get right.

To give a confident handshake:

Be the one to initiate it, it shows that you’re confident and have greater power

One of the most important things to consider in handshakes is who should initiate it. Really there are two schools of thought. It’s felt that the person of higher power and rank [3] should initiate the handshake, for example: the hiring manager in a job interview. Waiting for the other to initiate the handshake may show deference and respect on your part, however this could be at the cost of your appearance of confidence. Indeed, being the first to initiate the handshake in some circumstances may be seen as bold and a great expression of confidence on your part.

Ensure power balances: mimic the other person’s body language

Thinking back to the idea that human interaction is based on power relations and power balances, there is a way to maintain a good balance of power in a handshake. This can be especially important when you think the other person will try to show a degree of dominance.

President Trump’s [4]  super macho handshake has now become legend, when Trump shake hands he maintains contact for an unexpectedly long amount of time, and halfway through the shake pulls the other person inward. This is Trump subconsciously telling the other person that he is more powerful.

Recently Trump attempted this on Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, and an unexpected thing happened. When Trump placed his hand on Trudeau’s shoulders, Trudeau did the same, when Trump tried to Pull Trudeau inwards, Trudeau resisted. Essentially Trudeau mimicked Trump’s body language and in doing so, the balance of power was maintained with neither man coming across as dominant. In resisting Trump, Trudeau gained a great deal of international respect.

Stand to show respect

Two of the most important parts of delivering a strong, confident handshake happens before your hands make contact. Firstly, it’s always a good idea to stand up to shake the person’s hand. This is especially vital if you are sitting and they are not, as standing up first is both considered polite [5], and is a good gesture of respect.

Maintain firm eye contact when shaking hands

As soon as someone initiates the handshake, until the handshake stops it’s a good idea to maintain eye contact. This is easy when there’re no other people in the room, or you don’t need to shake hands with anyone else, however if you were to look away or (worse) look at someone else, the other person will think you don’t find them interesting or not worthy of your full attention. At best they may feel you aren’t confident, and this can be equally damaging.

Maintaining eye contact has many benefits, not only do you show the other person that they have your undivided attention, but it also shows confidence as many find maintaining eye contact difficult. Fascinatingly, research [6] has shown that the connection made when people look into each others eyes is so strong that we remember people’s faces more (great for job interviews!) and subconsciously consider them more sophisticated and outgoing. We think the opposite of people who avoid eye contact.
It’s arguably the most important part of a handshake and it has nothing to do with shaking hands.

When making eye contact make sure you give them a warm and genuine smile. A true smile is shown in the eyes as much as the lips. Any nervousness or fear you might have will be detected even if you are making sure to move your lips in the appearance of a smile.

A Moderate Grip (Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose)

When shaking their hand make sure your grip is firm, avoid limpness at all costs. You were probably expecting this bit of advice, it is without a doubt the most repeated bit of advice in the world of handshakes. Its popularity is testament to its importance. Yet so many people get it wrong and instead of being firm, they instead deliver a superhuman death grip.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that if the other person leaves the handshake in physical pain, it wasn’t a good one. Instead make sure to give the other person a little squeeze, unless their handshake is limp, a good idea is to match the pressure that they are giving.

Reference

The post How to Leave a Great Impression with a Confident Handshake appeared first on Lifehack.



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About Mysterious Everythings

Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.