Lessons In Networking: The Handshake

The Handshake

I read this entry on a blog post by Dash_rendar I found it rather interesting and I am sure many men want to ask this same question?

Female handshake etiquette
I’m going to assume that all but about 1 or 2 people reading this are going to be males. When you are introduced to a couple in a casual setting, like at a party or something, and you shake hands with the other man, do you then shake hands with his girlfriend or wife or whatever? I usually try to, but sometimes it feels a bit awkward. What about when you are just introduced to a female or introduce yourself to a female who doesn’t have a male counterpart? My handshake for the female is typically light and gentle as compared to the man and maybe consists of just the fingers or just the top half of the hand. Is this weird? I’ve read that it might not be proper to shake hands with the opposite sex in a casual setting…..but I feel stupid shaking hands with a guy then not with the girl standing right next to him.The situation baffles me. Your thoughts?
What do you think? How would you answer this question?

Forum Question: Do you shake a woman’s hand differently from a man?

The AnswerCurrent inter-gender handshake etiquette in the United States is gender equal. Whatever is true about handshaking between men is now true for all handshaking. Whether it should be that way or not is open for discussion. Such gender-equal handshaking etiquette is not necessarily true in other cultures outside of the United States and may not be entirely acceptable in many subcultures and certain geographical areas within the United States. Let us know what you think!

Lessons in Networking: The Handshake

One important aspect of networking and making good impressions is your handshake. Your handshake says a lot about you; and it’s important to cultivate a professional, confident handshake that doesn’t injure the other person or create a persona of arrogance and overconfident.

 The Balance of Confidence, Courage & Leadership


Here are the five factors of a good handshake: firmness, depth of grip, dryness of hand, duration of grip, and eye contact.

The Power of the HandshakeThe Handshake

During the important first few minutes of a new relationship, a handshake is usually the only body contact between two people. It can communicate warmth, a genuine concern for the other person and an image of either strength or gentleness. It can also communicate indifference and weakness. Developing a professional handshake is perhaps one of the most valuable business skills you can ever cultivate.

The message you communicate with your handshake is determined by five factors:

Degree of Firmness

Your grip should be firm, rather than weak. However, you don’t want your handshake to be painful to the other person. Consideration is appreciated. Be especially considerate if you are shaking hands with someone in a receiving line who has many more hands to shake, someone who is wearing a lot of rings, or someone who is obviously elderly and perhaps fragile.

Dryness of Hand

We all prefer to shake a hand that is dry. While you typically don’t want to obviously dry your hands before greeting someone, this is perfectly acceptable if you have been holding a cold glass. Similarly, if you are at the buffet table and have been eating, it is expected that you would wipe your hand on your napkin before extending it to be shaken.

Depth of Grip

A handshake is palm to palm. Generally you will place your hand so that the web between your thumb and forefinger meets the web of the other person’s hand, briefly. Your hand remains perpendicular. If your palm is facing up, this may be construed as a sign of submissiveness. Similarly, if your palm is on top, it can be seen as a sign of aggressiveness.

Duration of Grip

The perfect handshake is about 3 seconds. You can gently pump once or twice but this is not necessary. Then pull back your hand, even if you are still talking.

Eye Contact

While this will vary from culture to culture, in North America we expect the person shaking our hand to make eye contact with us.


Here's a Strategy

Have something to say as you shake hands, if possible. It doesn’t require anything witty. It may even be the old stand-by, “Pleased to meet you.” However, these few words set the stage for some small talk that can be the beginning of a new business relationship.

Grasping the top of the other person’s hand with your other hand, so that their hand is enveloped in yours, may very well signal warmth and affection. However, this may be seen as patronizing and too familiar for an introductory handshake. Save this handshake for a meeting with an old friend.


In awareness, passion, joy & purposeful networking,



About The Author


Andrea Callahan is a brand designer. She helps passion & purpose-driven entrepreneurs maximize their strengths to craft and implement an image that represents their WHY and to use that why to position themselves as an Industry Influencer. She a speaker, seminar leader and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear" available on Amazon.com Callahan launched the Industry Influencer Academy at academy.andreacallahan.com

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