Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Handshake: According to Recent Survey, Two Thirds of Us Display Diffidence, or a Lack of Confidence, When Shaking Hands

Reportedly, General Motors recently researched the handshake -- yes, researched it! -- to teach Chevrolet dealers how to do it correctly.

What a waste of time and effort, you might exclaim, considering that shaking hands is an activity all of us professionals engage in all the time. It is something we do quite naturally and reflexively, and so take for granted.

It turns out that nearly two-thirds of us display a lack of confidence when shaking hands, as per a recent survey cited on American Public Media’s “Marketplace” this morning. And why is that important for you and me? Because, as the “Marketplace” report points out, when you are meeting someone for the first time--say, during a job interview or sales call--the potential hirer, customer, or client is making instantaneous or snap judgments about your trustworthiness, your personality, your nervousness, and so on. In other words, the consequences of having an “unconfident” handshake and thus displaying diffidence when you meet someone for the first time can turn out to be very negative for you because they can affect the outcome of that interview or sales call.

Solution: The “Marketplace” piece goes on to make several suggestions and lists the various “ingredients” or components for the perfect handshake, but here are their three most significant and worthwhile tips:
(i) go for a complete and full grip, not the limp and almost half-hearted handshake I myself have often engaged in until now
(ii) shake or “pump” three times, which is why I now refer to the perfect handshake with the moniker “The 3-Pump Handshake”
(iii) smile with both your eyes and mouth and “let that smile fade slowly.”

Click here to listen/ read the report:

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