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What’s in a Handshake? Seven Revealing Things Yours Says About You

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Most probably have heard the expression. “a picture speaks a thousand words.” But what some may not know, a handshake is an unspoken word that launches a conversation, and it makes or breaks the first impression that one form of you.

For all its popularity, a handshake is not clearly understood. Although a handshake can be substantial, according to a favorite poll, 70% of the people do not feel confident about their ability to give the correct handshake.

The extent of incapacity is alarming, especially since the handshake is one of the essential elements of impression formation, and it reveals crucial aspects of the personality of the person offering it.

When a person meets someone new, making an excellent first impression is important to him/her. It only takes one handshake for maybe three seconds, for someone to test you. During this time, you have only one shot at it, and the way you shake their hand tells them a story and an essential aspect of you.

Also, body language is a significant part of the original impression. Everything from your posture, eye contact with how you carry yourself and especially the particular way you shake a person’s hand. A handshake is an implied greeting where people are making judgments about you and basing their opinions of you.


Some may not realize the power conveyed in a first-time handshake, a person who instinctively knows how to use their eyes to their advantage provides excellent eye contact, and present the best personality when sitting down to a meal.

The same should apply when you meet a person for the first time and shake their hand. A handshake is a major unspoken word that begins a conversation in any social or professional get-together. In a job interview, it is customary to shake hands with your interviewer.

Some even screw-up, thousands or more of a first impression handshake, and they do not see it. Yes, your handshake plays an essential role in whether you get the job.

I did not learn I was messing up my handshake until finally; I wanted to learn from my mistakes. Often, just being aware of your mistakes teaches you so, I learned to pay close attention to how a skilled person shakes my hand as everyone should pay close attention. Awareness and the way you shake a person’s hand can be a deal maker or a breaker.


Also, I made it my aim to use the essential tools to assist me on my journey of improvement, just to discover why a college degree is necessary. And when you make this effective decision to begin your journey of personal growth, good things can happen.

After receiving my degree, I learn that after laying out thousands of dollars for a four to five year of college; it did not teach me everything needed to land the job, such as one crucial thing like how to give the proper handshake at an interview.

I have had various excellent professionals who inspired and taught me a lot, things that have assisted me in the career I choose, but they’ve never told me how to use the information to improve my life.

It led me to the direction toward making me who I am today, a focus, take on risk individuals whom they help to see the long-term effects of the decisions I make, and I am the architects of my future — regardless of my circumstances.


Moreover, I was pleased to learn I AM represented by my handshake; it can make or break me. There are different handshakes that I will come across every day.

My goal should be first to discover what the handshake I am revealing about myself, my personality, and what’s the first impression that I am giving out.

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Thus, the first thing I learned was never to give a dead fish or a bone crusher handshake, but a simple proper handshake, what does YOUR handshake say about you?

Besides, different handshakes have a different meaning, and just in case you did not know, not knowing you have a lousy handshake is the worst and will cost you.

Using proper handshake leads the interviewer to know just how much you look forward to speaking with him/ her and can also impress them to give you the job.

So, if you want to leave the best result upon meeting a talented person for the first time, especially in an interviewer, stand tall, consider good eye contact, be the first to reach out and shake their hand with your right hand and have good posture.


The interview starts the movement you approach the person in charge, long before you shake hands and have a seat. Therefore, it’s proper to make sure you only hold the interviewer’s hand for one to two seconds and speak to him/her in a bright and enthusiastic tone. Remember to always shake the individual’s hand firmly with no limping.

Sure, you do not squeeze or crush the bones in their hands as you attempt to show your positive nature. Also, to show confidence gives a winning smile and poise by sharing a simple, powerful handshake free from bone-crushing fervor yet gentle enough to impress.

To make sure you provide an excellent firm handshake, tilt the fingers down and scoop up into the handshake — instead of just attaching your fingers into the other person's hand as they shake your hand.

Although, it may take a little time to learn the proper handshake. — learning says a lot about who you are as a person. Here are a few you do not want to, and one or two you ought to learn. Do you recognize any of these hand shaker types? Below is the seven-revealing thing your handshake might say about you.


1. The crusher handshake: a nervous person generally uses this handshake and crushes the other individual’s hand during the handshake – no one likes a loose grip, but don’t go too far and squeezing the life out of the other person’s hand.

2. The corpse handshake: first, remember that not everyone accepts a handshake as a greeting nor does every do it the same…moreover, please no loose grip – you want to avoid the corpse handshake, it a slack shake and gives the person who hands you are shaking the impression you are an irresponsible person.


3. The twister handshake: no one wants this handshake; it is like arm wrestling. One person takes the next person's hand and turns it upside down as it becomes twisted and then shakes it – this shake typically means the person twisting the hand is trying to take control and expect the other person to obey them.

4. The double-handed: this handshake is saved for big occasions where the right-hand grabs the left hand when both parties know each other well, meeting to shake hands to tell the story. The higher the hand moves up, the greater the control and the left hand are manipulating.

5. Push-Off Handshake – This is the traditional lousy handshake that a person might use to establish his or her territory. The grip is firm and warm, and in the end, shove away the hand.


6. The Fancy Fool Handshake: While some people do spend a second on thinking what hand they are putting out. Make sure to extend your right hand and do not make the handshake “hip” by trying to get creative with a new thing or a fist bump, this shows signs of foolishness and a complete lack of awareness. A handshake like this should be safe for shaking your frat brothers and friends hand only

7. Pull-In – This handshake is the opposite of the push off. The person using this handshake tends to guides you in the direction they decide.


In today’s competitive job market, the handshake evolved as a beginner to an introduction, and they use it as an agreement to be reached between two parties. So, it should always be warm and friendly.

Above are tips on different handshakes to assist you with a wonderful beginning in landing a job, now all you need to do is show confidence to close the deal.

To get the job, you need to bring your A-game from start to finish and make good eye contact the entire time. Always end with the proper closing handshake, thanking the person for his/her time help to close the deal.

If you don’t know the right handshake, that might be the reason you did not get the job. Some people arrive at an interview extra early; did you know that arriving too early is just as bad as showing up late for an interview?

Know that learning everything that will affect your chances of getting the job is just as crucial as getting the handshake right. Giving the correct handshake could mean you are giving the interviewer the impression that you are trustworthy, driven, prepared, and a suitable candidate for the job.

Also, being professional in dressing and knowing how to elaborate when answering questions, don’t just say yes or no, could make the difference between the ideal job–and NO job.

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For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. Which is more important to you in your career?
    • Salary & Status
    • Corporate Culture & Growth
    • Vacation Time & Flex Work Options
  2. It's your first day at a new job. You:
    • Say hi to everyone you meet and get to know your coworkers.
    • Sit at your desk, wondering when the office tour will start.
    • Go around the office and introduce yourself personally to each and every employee!
  3. At a networking event, you see a stranger and:
    • Wait to be introduced.
    • Introduce yourself. He won't bite!
    • Ignore him. He'll come to you.
  4. In a group project, you see yourself as:
    • Getting the work done in any role!
    • Working alone. Group work never ends well.
    • The leader, of course! Always!
  5. You make a big mistake at work. Do you tell the boss?
    • I AM the boss. Ha!
    • No way! Hopefully nobody will notice.
    • Yes, I guess. After I fix the problem.
  6. There's a friendly competition at work. Your goal is to:
    • Try my best. It's just a game!
    • WIN! It's all about being number one!
    • Not participate. Competitions are pointless. Does it really matter?


Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. Which is more important to you in your career?
    • Salary & Status: +0 points
    • Corporate Culture & Growth: +0 points
    • Vacation Time & Flex Work Options: +0 points
  2. It's your first day at a new job. You:
    • Say hi to everyone you meet and get to know your coworkers.: +0 points
    • Sit at your desk, wondering when the office tour will start.: +0 points
    • Go around the office and introduce yourself personally to each and every employee!: +0 points
  3. At a networking event, you see a stranger and:
    • Wait to be introduced.: +0 points
    • Introduce yourself. He won't bite!: +0 points
    • Ignore him. He'll come to you.: +0 points
  4. In a group project, you see yourself as:
    • Getting the work done in any role!: +0 points
    • Working alone. Group work never ends well.: +0 points
    • The leader, of course! Always!: +0 points
  5. You make a big mistake at work. Do you tell the boss?
    • I AM the boss. Ha!: +0 points
    • No way! Hopefully nobody will notice.: +0 points
    • Yes, I guess. After I fix the problem.: +0 points
  6. There's a friendly competition at work. Your goal is to:
    • Try my best. It's just a game!: +0 points
    • WIN! It's all about being number one!: +0 points
    • Not participate. Competitions are pointless. Does it really matter?: +0 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score of 0 means: ?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Pam Morris

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