June 28 is National Handshake Day — time to honor the age-old custom of proffering up our palms. Whether to establish rapport during job interviews, client meetings or networking events, shaking hands is normally the only physical contact people have when conducting business. How you do it can make a powerful impression: Shake too firmly or pump too much, and you’ll come across as overlyaggressive. Shake too limply and you’ll exude incompetence and a lack of vitality. Don’t pump at all and risk appearing insecure.
Get the gesture right, however, and you’ll project respect, trust, energy and sophistication. Here are five things to consider:
When Do You Shake Hands?
It is business custom in the United States and many other (but not all) cultures to shake hands during introductions or at the start or conclusion of a meeting. Usually the person of higher social status will initiate the shake. While germaphobe Donald Trump avoids handshaking, you should never reject a handshake as it is a gesture of wanting to bond. (Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer, if you must!)
What’s the Best Way to Shake?
To give a proper shake:
1. Extend your right hand to meet the other person’s right hand, pointing your thumb upward and extending your arm at slight downward angle. (You should be standing about 18 inches from the other person.)