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Does Your Handshake Pass the Test?

Have you ever met someone whose handshake left you feeling worse, not better? When our handshake "works," other people might not notice. But when it doesn't, we risk damaging our relationships and our own credibility. A few tips (based, admittedly, on U.S. culture):

5 Tips to Make Your Handshake Well-Received*

  • Smile as you offer one! And yes, you're well within your rights to offer one.
  • Make eye contact (ever notice how many people miss this step, including those who should know better?).
  • Trade "firm" (ouch!) for sincere. A sincere handshake works equally well for men, women, and children.
  • End it sooner rather than later. Two or three smooth pumps and you're done.
  • Shake hands at the beginning and end of every important encounter—especially with someone you're meeting for the first time.

Now granted, we've all had that one eager new co-worker who couldn't stopshaking our hand—even on Day 3. But if you want to convey trust, confidence, and credibility, it starts with a sincere, well-timed handshake.

Speaking of Meaningful Handshakes

I know a man named John Booy who starts each workday by shaking the hands of 385 kids. Can you imagine?

Can you imagine being a kid, and every morning when you arrived at school, the superintendent shook your hand, looked you in the eye, and greeted you by name? Think of how that would have made you feel, especially if you were a kid with a challenging home life.

Few of us are called to imitate Mr. Booy's example. But why not take time this week to show your appreciation to those you live and work with? Our better relationships might just begin with a smile, a fist-bump, a kind word, or an overdue compliment.

For the ultimate show of respect: Meet a deadline without being reminded. The person on the receiving end will probably shake your hand—or wrap you in a bear hug!

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at