Mastering the art of a good handshake


What does your handshake say about you? Image by Jet via Flickr/CreativeCommons.

By Chanda Temple 

Earlier this year, I met a man running for public offie. I don’t remember his name nor the office he wanted. What I do remember is his handshake. It was clammy and sweaty.

After shaking hands, I couldn’t wait to wipe my hand. It was left kinda wet.

As I walked away, I wondered if the man knew what his handshake said about him. He may have been the best man for the job, but all I could focus on was that handshake.

Though it may seem small, a handshake is a big thing in politics and business.

Here are a few tips to master the perfect handshake:

  • Maintain eye contact 

When meeting someone and shaking hands, look them in the eye. It shows you are serious and engaged. When you finish shaking hands, maintain good eye contact during the conversation.

  • Don’t hang on

When shaking hands, don’t hang onto the person’s hand for a long time. Do a two-shake motion and then release. A handshake should be made in one up motion, one down motion and then release. After you go up one time and go down one time, you are done.

  • Don’t be such a lady

Ladies, it’s OK to give a firm handshake. Gone are the days to offer a dainty or limp handshake. Show you mean business and shake hands like you mean it. Do this with women and men.

  • Don’t be a bone crusher 

Fellas, save flexing your muscles for the gym. You don’t have to show how much you can bench press by pressing someone’s hand into a pancake. Apply just enough pressure to leave a good impression, not a debilitating one.

  • Practice, practice, practice 

Unsure what your handshake says about you? Practice with a someone in the know about networking and handshakes. Ask for honest feedback.

  • Wipe those hands

If you have sweaty palms, wipe them before you meet someone. The same goes for if you have been holding a cold drink or just finished eating. No one wants what’s on your hands, on theirs. It’s just good etiquette.

  • Have something to say 

Once you’ve mastered a good handshake, what’s your opening line like? Have something interesting to say to go with that impressive handshake.

Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business and more at Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple. Contact her at

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