5 Tips to Improve Your Professional Handshake

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Some people put a lot of stock in other peoples’ handshakes. It may seem old-fashioned or even superstitious. After all, it’s a relatively superficial way to make a judgment about a person, and has nothing to do with their actual abilities (unless they happen to be hiring a professional handshake(r)).

If you want to get ahead in business, you have to please all sorts of people. You don’t want to lose a job or pass up an important opportunity just because of a handshake. If it’s silly for someone to care that much, it’s equally silly to suffer because you didn’t have a quality handshake.

Here are five simple things to keep in mind when considering your professional handshake:

Goldilocks Principle

Your handshake shouldn’t be too hard. After all, you don’t want to injure someone’s hand. But you don’t want your shake to be too soft either. You want to express confidence and self-assurance.

Thus, find that Goldilock’s middle ground … not too hard, not too soft.

Meanwhile, match your handshake to the one you’re receiving. If they go for a tight grip, try to match. If they stay relatively loose, keep things at a gentle squeeze. Your goal is to make a connection, so match the vibe of the person you’re shaking hands with.


How do you get good at anything? Take it from the old joke where someone asks a New York City cabbie, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” He responds, “Practice, practice, practice.”

It may seem silly to practice a handshake, but, like anything, getting some reps and seeking out constructive criticism can lead to improvement. Ask friends to try out your handshake and take notes about how you can improve.

Eye Contact

A handshake isn’t just about your hands. You are trying to engage the person. You want to make a connection … and that starts with the eyes.

Look the other person in the eye … make the handshake a true introduction. Meanwhile, think about other ancillary actions. How is your posture? Are you standing the right distance away?

Handshakes aren’t just about the grip. Keep in mind all the little things that go into the interaction.

Have an Opener Ready

The handshake is just the beginning. Hopefully, you can transition into a conversation. So when you go into a business meeting, have your opening line ready to go.

Of course, not all handshake situations lead to a long conversation. The encounter might be part of a reception line or a large group encounter. Still, you should have something to say – Even if you default to the prosaic “nice to meet you,” it’s better than nothing.

Be Ready for Unconventional Moves

Not everyone is happy with the standard traditional handshake. So, be prepared for some variations.

You might get the two-hand grab. A person might shake your hand while putting their other hand on your shoulder. Some people might go in for the handshake/hug combo, using a handshake as a way to pull you in, so they can put their other arm around your back. Or some people, even in business situations, opt for the outright hug

Be open to variation. Obviously, you shouldn’t let anyone do anything that makes you uncomfortable. But within reason, roll with the situation and make the other person feel comfortable with an improved professional handshake.

Introductions get easier when you know you’re in the right situation. Working with a top-flight recruiter, like Qualified Staffing, puts you in those ideal environments, where you have the utmost confidence you will thrive.

Contact Qualified Staffing today to learn more.