Have you ever been caught in that awkward moment when a group of people are being introduced, the men enthusiastically shake hands with each other and then they turn around and nod at you?
Many people (both men and women) aren’t quite sure whether to offer their hand to a woman a not. Men usually don’t think twice about this ritual with each other.
Where it was once used to bind a contract, nowadays a handshake is an accepted business formality. It is used as a greeting, a farewell, to express congratulations and as a sign of goodwill when an agreement has been reached.
A handshake can be seen as the first step of building rapport and developing a relationship as it provides a point of connection.
Men, unless they see each other every day, often greet each other with a handshake. Even in a social setting, a handshake is the accepted convention and establishes rapport. It’s an accepted business practice.
When women don’t shake hands this sets them apart. If they have to debate with themselves whether to shake or not to shake, before you even started talking, the gender difference will be unsaid but on the table, loud and clear.
A handshake can help women establish parity with male colleagues.
To avoid this situation, offer your hand in all situations where men would shake hands.
Do this with both men and women.
For men, it takes away the guesswork. With women, it establishes business rapport. You’ll present yourself as confident and professional. Be the first to offer your hand when you meet others, so that there is no time for confusion.
Here are a few more quick tips for handshaking:
- Make eye contact when you offer your hand – this aligns your body language with the connection you are making
- Hold your hand straight out from your wrist – stops your handshake from being too soft and prevents you making a vice like grip
- Shake 2-3 times
- The handshake should come from your elbow as you move your arm
Do you shake hands in business or social situations? How has it helped you?