Handshake Dilemma

May 9, 2009

We all know that handshakes are important when meeting new people, networking, on a job interview, etc.; it’s a key part to your introduction to a person. It’s a good indication of the confidence in a person and all things related. I’m not here to talk about the importance of a handshake or it’s germ-spreading ways, rather the awkwardness that may ensue with poor handshake coordination between two people. There will be a series of these posts – this is the first.
Yesterday at work I shook hands with a very important person in the company that I work for. Considering his highly held position, he has great respect for those far lower than him, and treats everyone as a friend. He actually played paintball with me and my friends last year for my birthday. We have a good work relationship and despite the casualness of it, I know to treat him with the respect he deserves. Make a short story shorter, I make sure to give a strong, firm handshake along with eye contact upon meeting with him. Granted, I shake hands firmly with everyone I meet (I have a major disliking for weak hand shakers).

Anyways, I realize now that I’m making this far longer than it needs to be. We shook hands, and after about half a second, he seemed to realize that I hold pretty firmly. This is when he decided to make is grip stronger as well. However, while he made this decision, I had already decided that the hand shake was about over, so I loosened up. I felt this was kind of weird, and it has happened in the past.

My advice: Always have a strong hand shake. Don’t be quick to end the handshake, let it be a mutual end. Try to remember the strength of grips in people you meet with frequently, so no adjustment is needed mid handshake.


2 Responses to “Handshake Dilemma”

  1. I realize you posted this a while ago, but I have been unable to get on the internet much this month!
    Your handshake dilemna is an interesting observation. However, I wonder what you would have to say about meeting an important person from another country? What happens if you are caught off guard and do not know the proper way to introduce yourself? It would look rather funny if you try to shake someones hand while they are trying to kiss you on the cheek!

  2. bryanricard said

    Good point Ashley, glad to see you made it back here. 🙂

    If you’re meeting someone “important” from another country or culture, you’re probably going to know about it ahead of time; giving you plenty of time to research or ask around what the proper greeting is in that culture.

    In the case that it’s out of the blue and you were unaware of meeting this person…well you’ll just have to wing it. Just hope that they take the initiative to do whatever it is they do, and just follow suit. It’d be my guess that in this situation it’d be okay not to know what to do because that person will understand. If you go for the handshake, they may decline it, but they’ll understand because they are now in your country and know that’s our customary greeting.

    Or maybe we should just globalize the fist-bump.

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