An explanation of the power of every impression you leave
Every time you interact with someone it forms an impression and a potential for loss or gain. Over time, if you maximise the number of positive impressions you leave, you’ll maximise your hit-rate in getting what you want (for example: more sales, action you want, influence etc).
In recent blogs I’ve shared information on the long term impression from the first two seconds of an interaction with someone.
In the next few weeks I’ll share how to leave positive impressions from various types of interactions, encounters and modes of communication.
For this blog, let me share guidelines for a great handshake for business interactions. A caveat here is that a handshake can be too studied and if it is, it risks being perceived as false. With this in mind, you’ll initially need to be careful with whom you use the following suggestions with – until you feel comfortable with your ‘revised’ handshake.
I suggest you practice in safe situations with ‘safe’ people, like your friends. Ask your friends for their feedback on your handshake (By the way I’ll cover the great worth of getting objective feedback in a future blog).
The key message for meeting and greeting someone, which in business interactions often includes a handshake, is: to be present and tune into the rhythm of the environment/interaction. For example, being present means Not looking over someone’s shoulder as you shake their hand (eg. for someone more interesting to talk to).
The specific process of the meet and greet, which includes the handshake, is to simultaneously face the person, smile, and ‘lock onto’ their eyes, while you put out your hand for the shake. Clasp their hand fully (all the way to the web between their thumb and index finger) with a palm to palm, firm (but not too firm) grip followed by two downward pumps – while holding eye contact. Then release smoothly. That’s it.
The two pumps are not set in stone, and you might do more if you are a more enthusiastic type of person or if you are really glad to see someone. I find two pumps is a good benchmark.
(As an aside, some of my sales presentation, women clients often ask me if they should wait for a man to offer their hand first, for the shake. I say no. For Australian business interactions I suggest both women and men should take the lead and readily offer their hand for the shake.)
The ‘how to’ for this blog is to get curious about what impressions people leave through their handshakes with you, and how you could practice the above guidelines/suggestions, to leave a more positive impression with your handshake.