Etiquette Tip of the Month

Etiquette Tip of the Month:Shake on it!

I am always surprised when I meet a college student or person in business who is the picture of confidence—smart business attire, great eye contact, smiling, perfect posture—but then when that person goes in for the handshake...his or her handshake is so lifeless, so limp, I feel like my next step should be to check the person's pulse. What a letdown! I know labradoodles that can shake more affirmatively.

Your handshake speaks. It must be firm. It should say: "I am intelligent. I am confident. And I am darn glad to meet you."

A weak, limp handshake says: "I'm not sure of myself. I am not sure about you. I am not sure why I got up this morning."

Your palm fits in the other person's palm. Seal the grasp by wrapping your fingers around the other person's hand. Don't squeeze the blood out of the other hand, but do give a good firm grip. No need to pump up and down like it's crack-the-whip. Just grasp.

If you are concerned that the person you are shaking hands with might be frail or suffering from arthritis and a firm handshake might hurt them, then mirror the pressure that person puts on your hand.

Practice your handshake with friends and other professionals. If you mean business, if you want the job, if you want the sale, say it with a firm handshake.

Source: Culture and Manners Institute at

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