First Impression Rose

Handshakes are crucial to creating a great first impression in your professional world. In a world of fist-bumps, bro-hugs and high-fives, the art of the handshake seems to have been lost.

Who hasn’t been introduced to someone and when you reach out to shake hands it gets really awkward really quickly? We’ve all experienced missed grips, stubbed fingers, limp hands, white knuckles, sweaty palms, wet hands and other blunders. The list of embarrassing handshakes mortifies me, especially when a good handshake is so simple and easy to do.

When you know you’re going to meet someone and shake their hand, be prepared. Make sure your hands aren’t sweaty, wet or greasy with food, particularly if you’re at a cocktail party or just used the restroom.

When you’re about to meet the person, hold yourself with excellent posture and make and keep eye contact. Remember to smile. Offer a pleasantry like, “Wonderful to meet you,” or “It’s so good to see you again,” or “It’s such a pleasure.” Extend your hand till you connect the web of each of your hands, then make two swift, unexaggerated pumps.

When you release hands, offer a tidbit of information about yourself or an update if you already know the person. It could be a common connection or interest you share, for example.

Lastly, be sure to ask them something about themselves. Use their name, again, so you can remember it, and they will know you’re interested in them. Get them talking about themselves. These are right out of Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

What ever you do, don’t make these mistakes: Slouch, crush the other’s hand, look at the hands while shaking, linger your hand on the other’s, or leave the other person hanging.

A warm and professional introduction just might win you the first impression rose at your next networking event!