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Communication Skills: Starting With an Appropriate Handshake

May 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 232

The typical business meeting begins with a handshake, so you need to make sure your handshake reflects appropriate nonverbal communication skills.

Unfortunately, some of the traditional, Western, and honestly rather macho advice on shaking hands does not reflect the communication skills needed in the modern business environment.

The reason the old-fashioned, firm handshake isn't the best...

While the old firm handshake is popular among Americans and many Europeans, it is considered too aggressive among people from Middle Eastern and Asian countries, where a gentler handshake is preferred.

For this reason, we recommend adopting a moderate handshake that is neither especially firm nor "dead fish" weak. Likewise, "pumping" the hand more than three times can come off as overenthusiastic and should be avoided.

Are you forcing the other person to take a dominant or submissive role?

Another concern is the placement of the hand. Shaking hands with the palm down requires the other person to place their hand below yours, essentially bullying them into a submissive position. Likewise, shaking hands with the palm up forces the other person to place their hand above yours, positioning you as the submissive party.

For an appropriate handshake, your hand should be in the vertical position, staying on level with the other party's hand.

Why you should limit contact to one hand...

While politicians often shake one person's hand while either cocooning it with their other hand or clasping the other person's right arm to convey a sense of warmth or parental concern, this is generally not appropriate in a business setting. While politicians want to exercise control over others, you should be looking to open up channels of communication instead.

Plus, if the other person interprets this as an intrusion on their personal space, you will have already made them uncomfortable, which is not a good thing in the modern age of sexual harassment lawsuits!

So, unless you're meeting with someone you're already close to, keep your other hand off.

In short: use a conservative handshake to convey professionalism!

Appropriate body language facilitates communication without drawing attention to itself. You want people to remember you because you sold them a great product or participated in a wonderfully productive business meeting, not because of your handshake.

So, use a moderate handshake, "pump" the hand no more than two or three times, keep your hand vertical, and limit your contact to one hand unless the other person initiates more contact.

My name is Evelyn Gawlowska and I am a Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, Trainer, and Interpersonal Communication Expert. If you enjoyed my article and are interested in learning more about verbal and nonverbal communication skills, check out my online sales training program, Sales Through the Roof.

Source: EzineArticles
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