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Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to Give a Handshake

picture of handshake

My father would do something with me that more fathers need to include in their parenting. Mothers can do it with their children, too. A simple enough act to perform, any parent can easily fit several of these acts into every week. My own father would do this almost every day: he would shake my hand.

Implementing a few handshakes a week is easy to do.  My own father was an incorrigible jokester and used humor to ask for handshakes.  He would come up to me and ask for my name, saying “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”  He’d find me sitting at the kitchen counter or walking through the hall and stop me with “What a pretty lady! Allow me to introduce myself to you, mademoiselle. I am Iuliu Seitan.  To whom do I owe the honor?”  Then, he would shake my hand.

Why is knowing how to give a handshake important?

Even though this blog is about writing, sounding like a confident writer is more easily achieved when you know how to act confident off the page as well.  It may sound hokey, but I guarantee you that if and when you ever need to give someone a handshake, that person is determining your level of self-confidence based on the quality of your shake. 

I can’t stress enough just how important having a strong, “proper” handshake is. According to Vanessa Raymond from,

the significance of a handshake cannot be overstated--if you don't have a passable handshake, you aren't getting the job.

Far too many of my students have horribly limp handshakes and, try as I might, it's incredibly difficult to push aside the judgmental thoughts about their strength of character that come to mind immediately after meeting palms with them. It makes me wonder, though, just how many of them even realize the awful impression they're leaving behind with their handshakes.

I’m certainly no expert on all the subtleties of professional business etiquette, but performing a simple and proper handshake is something that anyone can master given a few straightforward guidelines and a bit of practice.

What is a handshake?

Truth be told, there is no right or wrong way to give a handshake – all it really requires is the meeting of two hands from two individuals.  How to give a good handshake, however, requires that you adhere to a few guidelines.

  • Firm grip
  • Slight up and down movement
  • Let GO
Other web pages exist that present these guidelines in a far more eloquent manner than I, and I highly recommend visiting them if you are even the slightest bit doubtful as to whether or not your handshakes conform to the standard. Those websites are:

There’s really no substitute for practicing.  Giving a proper handshake isn’t something you can just read about and know how to do well.   Family members (especially parents) are wonderful candidates for handshake practice partners. So find someone with whom you are comfortable practicing and get to shaking your palm-palms!


Photo credit: Oooh.Oooh


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