My original idea for this blog was to discuss the pros and cons of a handshake, as related to women in business. As I did my research and examined my own views, I quickly realized this is not necessarily an issue dictated by gender.
As the title asks, “Are you a wet noodle”? A weak handshake can quickly give the wrong impression of your intentions, abilities, the level of interest, or lack of confidence. Shyness and insecurity in these situations are also potential causes for a weak handshake. Other issues could include introversion, guilt, and general anxiety. A weak handshake could actually have no meaning at all, but only to the person offering the “wet noodle”.
“A study on handshakes (by the Income Center for Trade Shows) showed that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. The trade-show researchers also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly.” (Goman, 2013)
When you offer your hand to someone to shake, the important thing to keep in mind is that a handshake is often the first impression and a lasting impression. Recognize that the tactile touch itself makes this impression. A firm handshake, strong eye contact and good posture are the best way to say “I am engaged with you, and this interaction is important to me.” A firm and balanced handshake offers a sense of confidence, security, and trustworthiness. The person receiving your handshake will know the qualities that go hand-in-hand with an assuring grasp.
The history of the handshake is thought to be a coming together of two parties. By the joining of hands, these two parties show their intent to do no harm and have solidified their bond. These same basic ideas are true today, whether a greeting or a salutation. I firmly believe that my word and handshake are my bonds. All of the truly successful people I have met throughout my life also subscribe to this philosophy.
In business, use this to your advantage. Use a firm handgrip, maintain good eye contact, stand up straight, and the next time you see the recipient one of your award-winning handshakes, they will remember you with a smile. That smile and sense of ease may be your next big deal!
- Boulanger, A. (2016, November 9). Body Language Tricks Every Trade Show Booth Pro Should Know. Retrieved from The Infotainers: http://tradeshowinfotainer.com/blog/body-language-tricks-every-trade-show-booth-pro-know/
- Chaplin, W., Phillips, J. B., Brown, J. D., Clanton, N. R., & Stein, J. L. (2000). Handshaking, Gender, Personality, and First Impressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110-117.
- Goman, C. K. (2013, May 22). Why Women In Business Should Shake Hands. Forbes.