Business Handshakes: 5 Golden Rules You Must Never Break

By on September 3, 2013

Fotolia_32141901_XSA handshake is much more than a simple greeting. From a personal development perspective, it’s also a messenger to others concerning your confidence levels and personality. In business, a handshake is critical for making a positive first impression. Despite cultural differences, the unwritten rules remain much the same:

1.   Introduce yourself before anything else

Do that before extending your hand otherwise it makes you come across as being nervous or overly aggressive.

2.   Shake their hand two or three times (bending from the elbow)

Use the whole hand (not just a few fingers) and keep it animated (no ‘dead fish’ or limp handshakes). Keep it brief because any longer tends to make people feel awkward.

3.   Don’t grip too hard (or too light)

It’s not meant to be a show of physical strength or a power struggle. The right level of grip should be similar to what you’d use when opening a door.

4.   Dealing with problems

Sweaty hands  – to avoid embarrassing the ‘shakee’, don’t wipe your hands immediately after the handshake in a way that is obvious to the other party.

5.   One shake using both hands

It’s always preferable to use just the one hand (typically the right hand) for the actual shake. Using two hands with strangers is viewed as intrusive and a little too personal. The two-handed shake is often referred to as the ‘politician’s handshake’ because it comes across as being artificially friendly when used on people that you hardly even know.


If you’re concerned your handshake didn’t convey the right message, then simply shift gears and offer some form of compliment or ask a question.

If you’ve had a memorable experience that you’d like to share then please post a comment below, thanks.

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