So what’s the big deal about a handshake? Does anyone really pay that much attention to this common gesture that we’ve all done countless times? Well, history, studies and real life stories suggest that how you shake hands is far more important than most people realize.
A perfunctory gesture? Hardly.
Truth is, in many ways it defines you. It provides insight into your personality and priorities. As it turns out, the handshake has quite a history dating back to 2800 B.C. in Egypt. The right hand was the weapon hand, and presenting it open and without a sword came to be seen as a sign of peace and acceptance.
Studies have proven that body language accounts for 55 percent of what others receive from us in communication. How important is a good handshake? I heard of a story where the CEO of a Fortune 500 company used the handshake as the deciding factor to select from two comparable candidates for a position.
There are several types but here are the top three and what they covey: 1) “Bone Crusher”: domineering, arrogance, insensitivity, insecurity and need for control. 2) “Boneless Filet” (aka Limp Fish): insecure, indecisive, timid or weakness. 3) The “Brand Builder”: this handshake is firm, palm-to-palm, with eye contact and a smile. It conveys confidence, trust, sincerity and a focus on results. Since everything speaks, what is your handshake saying?
Chris Bryant is a leading brand strategist, national speaker, executive coach and former director of staff-training for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company who specializes in personal branding and the customer experience. His clients include Nestlé, Mattel, Black Enterprise magazine, the U.S. Department of Treasury and other agencies. For more information visit www.ChrisBryantPresents.com.
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