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HAND-ling Introductions

Introductions are not solely initiated with words.  But rather, your first formal encounter is made with a handshake.  

But what does your handshake say about you?  

At a recent event, I came across a very honest individual, who informed me I had a very “weak” handshake. After pondering this for a few moments, I reassured myself that I was content with my gentle introduction and the kind demeanour it denoted.

But was I representing myself in the best way possible?

Power, confidence, kindness, meekness, shyness, nervousness and infinitely more traits can be represented by a handshake. Your handshake, albeit brief, will shape your conversational partner’s initial opinion of you.

This is not saying it will define you for the rest of your conversation. But rather, it is a first impression that you want to get right.

From those experienced in business etiquette, there has been much discussion in terms of the “right way” to shake hands. However, you are in charge of your personal brand, which means you choose how you are perceived.

 If you wish to appear confident, then shake hands firmly with purpose. If you wish to seem energetic, adjust your handshake to have a little more “umph”.

 Though some may tell you how a handshake should be conducted, the most important part is that you know your handshake reflects you. Equally as important, is that you are confident, that your handshake reflects you the way you want to be perceived.

There are, of course a few handshakes that are less than desirable. From limp hands to over aggressive shaking and from sweaty hands to food fingers, there are some handshakes you should avoid. The list also includes extending the wrong hand altogether. But beyond those, you have the opportunity to shape your introduction accordingly. 

Ultimately, your ideas and personality will be what defines you in the business community. However, you have the opportunity to start conversations giving the best first impression you can. The next time you find yourself meeting someone for the first time, hopefully you can put your best foot… err, hand, forward.