Use Your Handshake To Communicate Your Message

Use Your Handshake To Communicate Your Message

Take a moment to brush up on your shaking etiquette and learn how to send subtle and not-so-subtle messages with the your hand-to-hand style.

Photo by mark i geo.

While handshaking isn’t as common as it once was, it is still a significant social exchange which should not be underrated. Make sure your handshake is conveying the message you want it to convey. Looking to project a sense of closeness and understanding with your handshake? Wikihow shares a variety of techniques for shaking hands, including:

Form a personal connection with the hand clasp. This is better for sales and social situations than business situations. When you shake hands, take your other hand (your left hand) and use it to cover the back of the person’s hand you are shaking. This reinforces an emotional connection and is appropriate when you want to establish rapport and show sympathy.

Obviously a handshake isn’t a magical form of hypnotism—you have to follow up your rapport-establishing handshake by actually, you know, talking and relationship building. Still, many people form an immediate and often subconscious impression based on how you shake hands, so it helps to know what kind of message you’re sending. Want to see some different handshake styles in action? Check out the video below. The audio isn’t great, and the guy talks really fast, but it covers the basics of body posture and handshake grips.

Have a handshake story to tell? Can’t stand when someone gives you a dead fish of a hand? Prefer to skip right past the firm handshake for sanitary reasons? Sound off in the comments below.

Have a Persuasive Handshake [wikiHow]


  • Don’t worry about different forms of handshaking, three quarters of the people I meet in business and socially need to learn to not do wet handed limp shake. They offer their hand like you’re supposed to bend down and kiss it. Firm grip, eye contact with an audible and purposeful greeting and hold the shake as long as is needed. The longer, the more personal and emotional a connection you want to make.

Log in to comment on this story!