Your Handshake Can Say A Lot If You Make It

Shaking judge Rob Grisham's hand after 2012 Napf Championships

Gold Medal Handshake

Your handshake says more to people than you may realize. Your handshake carries a lot of weight in business ventures. It also lets people know if you are serious, awake and alert, and have a genuine interest in whatever is on the table. Let’s not leave out that your handshake can be a valid reassurance of your thanks and appreciation. In a nutshell, your handshake is a direct reflection of you.

     It can be your make or break moment of a first impression. Think about it. You walk in to a meeting with one or more new contacts, potential business partners or whatever fits the bill in your line of business. You pick. Maybe there is a go between that takes care of the introductions and all you have to do is give a nod, a “nice to meet you” and, throw out your handshake. I personally feel I am held back in those moments. Hopefully you get the opportunity to introduce yourself. Given the opportunity, I prefer to take the initiative, advance my opponent or future cohort, and make my own introduction closing the deal with a strong handshake.

     The first impression is very important no matter which side of the shake you’re on. Picture in your head the last time you shook someone’s hand and all you got was a wet noodle. How did that make you feel? What did you think of them afterwards? What do you think of them today? My bet is that it left you wondering if they were actually engaged in whatever discussion you were having. If it was personal, sadly it probably left you feeling like they really didn’t care. On a side note, even though many days I’m not proud to admit it, I must admit that I am part of the human race. On that note, if this is or was a close personal discussion, sometimes a warm hug fits the bill better. I’ll deny that last statement if you ever call me out on it in public. Okay, in all seriousness, sometimes a strong handshake just won’t do it. While humanoids (as I like to call them), don’t often impress me modern day, sometimes a hug is just a better way to get your point across.

     We are quickly losing a generation of people from the WWII era. They are dying off every day faster than we realize. The men and women of that generation have much to share and are always worth listening to. My angle to this is that I always spend as much time as possible when I meet someone from that era listening and chatting with them. When it is time to say goodbye, you are guaranteed the handshake is extremely intentional. I put forth as much thank you and respect with my shake as I can muster up. If they were feeling unappreciated, they aren’t any more. I met a great older fella this past winter and we talked for a long time. It was great. We both shared lots of stories. When we parted ways I shook his hand, told him what a pleasure it was to meet him, and that I hoped we would chat again. He wouldn’t let go of my hand. He kept a strong hold of my hand for so long I started shaking his again. A realistic 10-15 seconds later he let my hand go. He then shook his finger at me and stumbled his words for a second, and then with a huge smile said, “I don’t know how….. but somehow I know you’re really 80 years old.” Coming from a man like this, from that era, I couldn’t have received a better compliment. It made my whole day. It still does.

     Let’s not leave out the way a woman’s hand should be shaken. Hey, if you ladies want to get after it and try and crush each other’s hands, have at it. That’s your business. If you are a man reading this, then use a little discretion when shaking the hand of a lady. I’m not saying you should limp wrist her at all. That’s just ridiculous. You’re a man. Shake her hand like a man. Just don’t try and crush it. That only proves that you are not a man at all. If you are a lady and shaking a man’s hand, then let him know you are serious. Give him a good firm shake and make him realize that most of his office buddies have the grip of a child.

     Have you ever shaken the hand of “that guy” that always tries to squeeze just your fingers. How about the guy that grips your hand and tries to push your hands straight down to dominate the shake. Ever cross the over gripper? You know the one. He’s the jack-monkey that knows he has a crushing grip and has to prove it for no reason. Let’s cover this with one sentence. Don’t be that guy.

     This is really simple when you break it down. The way you address people is absolutely a reflection of your character. A firm handshake given with true intent leaves a person feeling warm and confident. It lets people know you’re serious. Make sure you look people in the eye and smile when you shake their hand. Be genuine with your words. This tells the world that you are here to stay and you mean business. It wasn’t that long ago that a handshake was a binding contract. Here at 19th Century Alpha, that rule stands strong! You have my word on that!

Keep Pushing Harder Every Day. It WILL Take you great Places!


  1. Thanks for the input Craig. Cultural differences bring great variances in most things. Apparently the hand shake is to be included.

  2. I think that the question shluod be “Do different cultures shake hands differently?”You shluod try shaking hands here in Africa, where the handshake is not a simple clasp-shake-let go maneuver. It is a complicated process of clasping hands, letting go, holding thumbs, and generally getting completely confused!It is kind of the African version of the European kiss!Craig

  3. Just found your blog via B&D, good stuff! Keep it up brother.

  4. Thanks Will. I like the successful vs passive. Valid point for sure.

  5. Solid post! Couldn’t agree more that it is a direct reflection of ones self. Good luck finding a successful person who has a passive shake.

    Keep em coming!

    – Will

  6. Thank you Mother! 🙂

  7. Love it!!!

Speak Your Mind