How to Deliver an Unforgettable Handshake

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Patricia Rossi, etiquette coach to pro, college and high school athletes, shares the art of the perfect handshake to help you prepare for your next campus meet-and-greet.

Think of a handshake as a chance to make a positive first impression. "Your handshake is the most important thing you can do," Rossi says. She notes that it signifies whether you're confident or doubtful, trustworthy or unreliable. A coach will know within three to seven seconds "whether he likes you, he trusts you, he thinks you're strong … and coachable," Rossi says.

There are several ways to dish out a shake. Here are six shakes Rossi advises against and why:

The Wrestler: You turn the recipient's hand so your hand is positioned on top
Meaning: "I want to have power over you. I'm stronger than you."

The Terminator: Squeezing the recipient's hand too tightly
Meaning: "I'm a little anxious and nervous, so I'm trying to be powerful."

The Wet Fish: Gripping the recipient's hand in a limp manner
Meaning: "I'm not a committed person."

The Clutch -On: Using both of your hands to sandwich the recipient's hand
Meaning: Sympathy. "It should be reserved for funerals or for the closest of friends."

The Queen's Shake: Grasping someone's fingertips
Meaning: "I think I'm better than you, and I don't even know if I really want to touch you."

The Fist Bump: Bumping your fist against the recipient's fist
Meaning: Friendship "Only if [a] coach does that first, then follow through. You want to mimic and mirror someone else's handshake."

Reject the aforementioned moves and develop a quality shake that conveys sincerity and confidence. Rossi coaches up the following points for offering a solid hand:

The Perfect Handshake

• Stand with feet six inches apart with toes and belly button facing coach
• Snugly grasp hand, your palm to his, and wrap your hand all the way around coach's hand
• Grip firmly but not bone-crushingly
• Pump three times; release

Sets/Reps: 1x1
Coaching Points: Stand up straight // Make direct eye contact // Smile // If necessary, roll palms with antiperspirant to minimize sweat

Rossi: "You want to make sure it's committed—a snug one, two, three and release. It's really important [to realize] that this is [the] first form of physical contact you're going to have."


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: COACH | POWER