Second only to the smile, the handshake is your greatest opening asset. In business, it might even be equal to the smile. Many of the techniques I talk about are to help you to disarm others by showing that you are not a threat. The is a prime tool in this pursuit.
I get a lot of awful handshakes, especially from geeks, so I stress it here. So many people don’t know how to shake hands that a good handshake stands out, it puts you above the crowd. I’m not being old-fashioned, I’m telling you that when you shake hands badly, people get an actual creepy feeling.Why is the handshake so important in the business world? One theory is that the handshake tells the person you’re greeting that you aren’t armed, that you are, in essence, harmless. But, it’s a mutual harmlessness; both parties are agreeing to be fair and equitable. Of course we know this isn’t always the case but it’s an excellent ideal. (diagram from “Psychology Today” magazine)
Also, the handshake is naked physical contact. It’s an intimacy in a sterile world, it says I’m human, you’re human, we’re equal, we’re both 98.6. You are expressing and feeling actual literal warmth.
Give the dead fish handshake CPR. A handshake should be firm, but not over powering, strong but gentile. The reason bad handshakes are creepy is that they are often limp and damp and cool and almost slimy, much like a dead fish. If you have a bad handshake, bring it back to life by learning the basic principles. Practice this. It’s so easy. Get good at a handshake. In my experience, a slimy handshake can literally kill a contact.