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Chapter 11. Making a Positive First Impression > Shake Hands with Confidence

Shake Hands with Confidence

In business situations, a handshake often is your first contact point with another individual. Your handshake says a lot about you, and helps others form immediate and lasting impressions of you. Keep these pointers in mind:

In general, reserve handshakes for business situations. If you strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you at a soccer game or the individual waiting next to you to board a plane, chances are you won’t shake hands. When you introduce yourself or strike up a conversation at a trade show, professional association meeting, or fund-raising event, however, you will want to shake hands.

Offer your hand equally to men and women.

Make eye contact, smile, and exchange pleasantries (“Nice to meet you,” “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you,” “What a beautiful scarf”) while you shake.

Make full hand-to-hand contact. Extend your entire hand, not just your fingers.

Offer a firm, friendly shake. A limp, lifeless shake projects a passive image. Pump too aggressively and you will come off as domineering. Large men should be particularly careful not to crush the hands of women and smaller men.

Reserve two-handed shakes for friends or for individuals for whom you have genuinely warm feelings.


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