MSN Careers page had a useful article on when and how to shake hands this week. It has important info for anyone who wants to project a professional, confident image. A few things I would add to the list of do's and don'ts:
- DO prepare in advance to greet people with a good handshake by keeping your hands washed, nails clean, and refraining from coughing into your hand.
- DO say the other person's name as you extend your hand.
- DO give eye contact and smile when you shake hands.
- DON'T do the pinch (no description necessary - you all know what I mean)! If you are a man, DO NOT do the pinch to a woman - it is a tremendous sign of disrespect. If you are a woman, DO NOT do the pinch to a man - it signals weakness and insecurity.
- DON'T wear perfumed, scented lotion or aftershave on your hands. It is not polite to expect other people to smell like you for the rest of the day.
- DON'T be ashamed to politely decline to shake if you have just obviously sneezed, blown your nose, or coughed into your hand. As a mom of two, I am very comfortable saying, "So nice to meet you. Please forgive me for not shaking hands, I seem to have a bit of a cold and don't want to share it!" Most people thank me for this.
You handshake conveys an awful lot about you in just a few seconds - it's worth it to spend some time and thought to get it right!