The Do’s and Don’ts of a Strong Handshake

Whether we like it or not, a handshake is a strong parameter by which people in general and especially men perceive each other, especially the first hand shake you give someone. When a handshake doesn’t work, it is quite an odd situation. The reason for this could very well be that we tend to communicate a lot through our handshake and having a good handshake sends out a positive message.

A good handshake should convey confidence and establish a good non-verbal ground for communication! In business, it plays a huge role in interactions and can shape the whole dynamic of a meeting, which, by extension, can shape the whole outcome of a negotiation or meeting.

Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts that will help you give a better handshake and put your best foot forward, or hand, that is.


One major key about a good handshake is giving a strong, firm grip. However, if the other person extends a very weak hand, you can respond with a rather soft (but never too soft) squeeze.

Always stand up when shaking hands with someone! Of course, if both participants to the handshake sit, that is OK, but it’s never a good idea to sit while someone else stands while shaking hands. A good handshake is always done on the same level.

Respect all ranks! Sometimes, it can be odd to know whether you should extend a handshake or not, especially for college students. The rule generally is that people with higher ranks or who are older extend the handshake.

When it comes to shaking women’s hands, in most circles it’s common to expect the woman to extend her hand.

This might seem obvious, but always use your right hand. We’ve yet to see someone shake hands with their left hand, so extending your left hand would be odd.

Do keep your other hand visible while shaking hands. Just let it be on the side of your body, don’t keep it in your pocket.

Always shake your hand up and down not back and forth.

As an extra tip, you can always remember to say the person’s name while shaking their hands (“Nice to meet you, John!”). This will make you more memorable.


Don’t shake someone’s hand if you are sweaty, dirty or in any way not in good shape. No handshake is better than a bad handshake. Avoiding a bad handshake will create another opportunity for a good handshake. However, if compelled, wipe your hand as quickly as possible on your pants or jacket before shaking hands with someone.

Don’t crush people’s hands. Some people interpret the idea of a firm grip by breaking someone else’s hand. This is definitely a faux-pas. Even if you are a strong person and even if the other person is just as strong, it’s not a fitness match.

Don’t shake your hand from your wrist. This is considered a big mistake – it is odd, weak and pushy.

Don’t use both hands. Shaking hands with both of your hands is reserved for people you know well.

Don’t touch the other person while shaking their hand unless you know them rather well. Touching someone you just met can be seen as an intrusion in their personal space.

Don’t shake people’s hand for too long.  A proper handshake should last for about 2-5 seconds. Note that most people prefer shorter handshakes.

A great handshake can be achieved by considering these easy-to-do do’s and don’ts. They will help you not just appear confident, but really be strong and with the right attitude. When shaking hands, always make sure to follow through, don’t leave people hanging, smile, make eye contact and you are all set!


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