The Importance of the Handshake

A well prepared, well read career coaching client recently reminded me of the importance of a firm handshake.  Frankly, I’d been taking the handshake for granted.  The handshake completes the first impression package.  Here are a few tips:  stand up, make eye contact and smile before you shake, thumb to thumb and web to web.  Shake up and down not side to side.  End with a smile.  Women, don’t be shy about shaking a man’s hand.  Men, women won’t break.  If interviewing, generally, the interviewer will offer his/her hand first.  In business, the higher ranking individual should offer his hand first.  Some etiquette experts advise that a man wait for a woman to offer her hand in a social setting.  From this woman’s perspective, don’t wait.  Practice makes perfect.  I’d be interested in comments about passing germs through hand shakes and how germs have affected the handshake.  My strategy on reducing germs is to wash hands early and often.

Gerriann Fagan
Career Partners International

Bookmark and Share


  1. Eugene's avatar
    | Permalink
    Great advice. Another tip: while a “wet fish” grip is awful, a steel vice clamping grip is almost as bad – maybe worse. In my experience former collegiate football players are the worse violaters, followed closely by female triathletes. Firm is good; breaking bones is bad. You want to create a good impression, not inflict pain.

Leave a Comment