16 May Handshake Etiquette: An Introduction

The most common greeting in business has always been the handshake, however, what is the correct handshake etiquette? To shake or not to shake? A strong or gentle grip?

For both men and women, shake hands firmly to convey your confidence and warmth.

A handshake should also be given enthusiastically and usually accompanied with a friendly comment such as “Nice to meet you”. Your handshake should only take as long as it takes to greet the person; don’t overdo it and don’t forget to smile!

A limp or weak handshake indicates shyness and hesitancy, however too strong a handshake looks controlling (not to mention painful for the other person). Never put your other hand over the handshake as this also looks as though you are trying to dominate them.

One last point: remember to stand when shaking hands and don’t stay behind your desk when meeting or greeting someone as this can look as though you can’t be bothered to make an effort. When you stand up, you are showing the person you are greeting that you’re giving them your full attention.

OK, so we know how to do the handshake correctly but what about when to shake hands?

You SHOULD shake hands:
1. With customers or clients, even when you meet them outside work.
2. When an associate or new business client enters or leaves your office.
3. When you’re congratulating a colleague.

You SHOULDN’T shake hands:
1. When the other person is eating.
2. When the other person has their hands full and can’t offer their hand.
3. When the person you’re greeting is higher-ranking and doesn’t offer their hand to you.

This is just a brief outline of handshake etiquette. Have a question or comment? Let me know in the box below!