We’ve all heard that it takes only 7 seconds to make an image impact, but it may be far less than that according to a series of experiments done by Princeton psychologists, Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov. According to their findings, it only takes 1/10th of a second to form an impression about someone and those impressions are not significantly altered. If this is true, your handshake becomes even more important than ever.
- The sweaty handshake—that cold, clammy handshake that usually comes from being nervous. There is really no reason for this handshake however, because if you know you are prone to this, just wipe your hand on your pant leg before extending your hand. Or keep some antiperspirant deodorant and apply it to your palm after you wash your hands. This will keep your hands nice and dry and will not let the other person know you are nervous.
- The limp handshake—is that extremely light grip of the hand and shaking from the wrist. This sends out a message of a lack of confidence, weak character and a lack of commitment to the encounter. This is usually delivered by a woman and is an immediate indicator that her credibility is in question.
- The finger holding shake—this is where the other person closes the grip on your fingers instead of at the palm. It sends the signal that you don’t care about shaking hands properly or that you are so eager that you lose focus on the right way to do it. It could also mean that the initiator lacks confidence or is trying to keep the receiver at a comfortable distance. This occurs quite often between a man and a woman.
- The hand-holder handshake—this is the handshake where the person never lets go. It becomes extremely awkward and sends the message that they may not have clear boundaries.
- The crushing handshake—this is the handshake that feels as though they are trying to crush every bone in your hand. It triggers the natural fight or flight response in us and does not make for a good first impression. It sends a message that one is overly aggressive. This is usually delivered by a man.
Always make sure your handshake is warm, friendly and appropriate to the situation you are in. Since it is so critical to a good first impression, make sure you practice giving and receiving a good handshake so that you will never be responsible for delivering one of the undesirable handshakes we spoke of earlier. That way you will never need to worry that your handshake is sending negative messages you have no intention of communicating.
Debbie Darling, ©2015 The Presentation Pros
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