Let's Shake On It

How many business meetings have started and concluded with people shaking hands? How many deals have ended or never happened because of an inept or offensive "shake?" How many opportunities do each of us get on a regular basis at networking events, parties and other social gatherings, to capitalize on what has almost become a meaningless gesture?

The answer is, probably more than we will ever know or want to know. And yet conversely how many of us will report incidents where they elected not to do business based on the "flabbiness" of the handshake or something else it conveyed that said "no?" It is one of the more subtle and powerful tools at our disposal and so many overlook it.

Let's review Handshaking101, shall we? A hand shake is a sincere gesture that "you come in peace" and you do not mean the other party any harm. Your hand is empty. You are not carrying a weapon. But if it is to be sincere, make it sincere. Look the other person in the eye as you grab their hand. As you are extending your hand to grasp the others, register the color of the other persons eyes and hear them say their name, if they are introducing themselves. Say it in your mind or literally repeat it so that you know you have the right name in the first place. Press the flesh firmly but do not get into a squeezing battle. If you have a perspiration problem carry a handkerchief and dry yourself off as often as you need to so you don't become the "salesman with the sweaty palms." There are many styles, the hand over hand or so called politicians grip is just one example. The key to maximizing your return on this most important part of this particular social amenity and business necessity is sincerity.

So grab, look, register and squeeze and take a good solid moment doing it too. Don't be so hasty. You will be surprised at how many more deals fall your way with people saying things like, "Yeah, I kinda liked that guy, not sure why."


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