Blog: How A Handshake Can Make Or Break You
Our own Betsy Chase explains how a handshake says a lot about you and even gives a few pointers on how to deliver a perfect one.Playlist
I was just reading one of our researcher’s stories on how to give the perfect handshake. The experts say, it’s something that can make or break you in a job – or social – situation.
As far as a job situation, I am in the position of hiring here at the radio show and I can tell you, without a doubt, that’s true. I’ve shaken a lot of hands in the hiring process and the #1 thing that kills it for me is: The wet fish.
That limp handshake that conveys insecurity, reluctance, lack of confidence. And women are the ones who are guilty of the wet fish more often than not. You may walk into my office with a fabulous resume and a polished appearance - but if you give me a limp handshake, I won’t be able to end the interview fast enough. It is a job opportunity KILLER, as far as I’m concerned. And the absolute WORST wet fish you can give is the ‘fingertips only’ handshake. That’s not even a handshake – it’s a finger touch. Ridiculous. Even the experts say women who give the wet fish command less respect. So what about guys? Stop with the bone crusher. I’m not your gym buddy that you have to impress with your testosterone.
In a social situation, if I got either of those – it would speak volumes about someone’s personality and frankly, I wouldn’t be interested in knowing them. That may seem harsh or like a snap judgement – but it’s honest. I once met a former coworker’s wife and she gave me the wet fish and I thought, really? That’s the type of woman you want? It told me something about him for choosing her – that he must prefer a docile woman who doesn’t want to make waves or assert herself.
To me, the perfect handshake is firm but friendly – 3 pumps – 3 seconds and then let go. And body language experts agree. Here’s what body language expert Janine Driver says:
- Grip the other person's hand so the webs of your thumbs meet.
- Shake just a couple of times. And motion from the elbow - not the shoulder.
- Finally, end the handshake cleanly, before the introduction is over.
What do you think: Can you tell a lot about a person from their handshake? Or is that not a good indicator of someone’s personality?