How to Shake Hands Like a Winner

There’s nothing more annoying than someone with a limp handshake, except perhaps someone who has a limp and sweaty handshake. Historically, the Romans used the handshake as a greeting over 2000 years ago. The ritual was regarded as a sign of friendship, because the right hand was considered to be the weapon hand. Shaking hands meant there was no weapon.

Today, shaking hands is still the most common social practice for introducing oneself to others, especially in a business setting. You don’t see many grey-suited businessmen giving each other a “high-five” or a “bro-hug,” before a meeting. Speaking of which, the latest trend seems to be the “fist bump.” I don’t know where this started; maybe it’s a result of an increase in germaphobia. Being somewhat of a germaphobe, myself, I’m often reluctant to shake hands these days, but I don’t want to appear rude. Why? Check this out: A June, 2013 article reported on a Michigan State hygiene study that revealed the following:

“After using the bathroom, 95% of people fail to wash their hands long enough to kill harmful bacteria. . .only two-in-three people use soap, while one -in-10 skips the sink altogether, and men get much lower marks for hand hygiene than women.”

YECH! Keep some hand sanitizer nearby, just in case.

So, let’s turn to “the art” of the handshake, and why it’s important to master. For one, you’re less likely to get hired if you have a weak handshake. Whether you’re job hunting, meeting a client, or a new friend, your handshake should convey interest, strength and sincerity. An article from breaks a proper handshake down to five components:

1. The Pitch

Good timing is key. Your body language should signal to the other person that a handshake is coming by swinging your right hand up from your hip, and your palm turned just slightly downward.

2. Eye Contact

Don’t look for or at the other person’s hand. Always maintain eye contact.

3. Make it Firm

A weak handshake makes a bad first impression, even with women. Grip the person’s hand firmly, but don’t squeeze it.

4. Avoid “Premature Evacuation”

In other words, don’t let go immediately. If it’s someone you know, bring the shake toward you and the other person will naturally lean in.

5. The Release

Three seconds is sufficient for a good handshake. Some people make the mistake of holding on until they’ve finished whatever it is they wanted to say.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor at

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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