I was an inspirational speaker for an insurance company recently where one of the board members showed us how to execute a proper handshake.
It was very interesting information because apparently I have been doing it wrong all these years. As an inspirational speaker, I attend alot of networking events and I shake lots of hands. Although my handshake wasn't shameful, I learned that all this time (with a few tips) I could have been establishing a stronger first impression.
The speaker for the insurance company suggested a good handshake has the following qualities:
- Make eye contact. Make sure your eyes meet first so you can get an accurate reading of the person. Smile. It reduces tension and avoids mixed messages.
- Extend an open hand with palm tilted upwards with your thumb up. Tilting your hand downwards may prompt people to kiss it!
- Establish a firm grip with the space between your thumb and forefinger touching. Don't crush fingers but avoid the limp shake. Firm means confident but not overpowering.
- Pump the hand once or twice.
- Hold the handshake for a few seconds while maintaining eye contact. Shifting your eyes makes you seem untrustworthy and holding a handshake for too long becomes awkward.
- Listen for the person's name and repeat it
The other inspirational speakers for the insurance company included sales guest speakers with more etiquette tips like how to brag about yourself. I will save this for another blog!
Check out sales guest speakers here