WHAT’S IN A HANDSHAKE

Paul Skene

I found this great article by Allan Pease, a renowned body language expert.  I have featured the article in full below.  It did get me to think about the value of the handshake in business and to question does it really have a place in today’s litigious society.  When I was growing up it was impressed upon me that your word is your bond and until today I do my absolute best to do what I say.  I am not saying that my record is 100% perfect, just saying that to me my word is important and I place real value on my commitments to others and myself.

I am growing disillusioned with the things that I see almost daily in politics, religion, business and day to day life.  It is disappointing.

So back to the question in hand (sorry, not my best pun) what value do you place on your “handshake agreements”?  The importance that you place on your handshake will be the expectation that you place on others.

Here is what Allan Pease has to say…..

“When you shake hands with someone new you’ll get one of three ‘gut feelings’ –

1. that they are attempting to dominate you

2. that you are in control of the meeting

3. That the encounter will go well.

One of the origins of the handshake was as a Roman greeting.  Troop leaders would meet with a grip that resembled an arm-wrestling hold (it’s painted on ancient vases) and the leader whose hand was most on top was said to have the ‘upper hand’. That’s why when someone’s hand is marginally on top of yours in a handshake, you’ll feel intimidated.  To create a positive first impression, keep your palm vertical and give the same pressure you receive.  The stronger a person’s handshake is, the more likely it will be in the ‘upper hand’ position in a greeting.  By giving equal pressure and a vertical handshake, it will put others at ease and create a positive environment to begin a face-to-face encounter.”

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