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Types of Handshakes:
How to Give Them. How to Read Them
There are many types of handshakes and ways to greet people. Some of them are the accolade, the military salute, the high five, the kisses, the bow, the wave – royal or not – and many more besides the "regular" handshake. In this article, I am going to focus on how to give a handshake and how to read the most common types of handshakes. To facilitate the reading, I will use the masculine form (he), but this content applies to women too.
How to Give a Good Handshake
According to Vedic palmistry, the palm of the hand indicates who you really are deep inside, while the fingers show only what you decide to show others about you. Since a handshake is an exchange of energy between two people, you should make sure that your palms – more than your fingers – connect to each other.
Then shake the hand two or three times, more if you are in South America. Also, if you finished a job interview and your interviewer shakes your hand five times or more, you probably got the job! Alcohol seems to influence the number of shakes: two per drink, I have been told!
Knowing how to give a proper handshake allows you to identify and read other types of handshakes.
How to Read Other Types of Handshakes
While this person shakes your hand, he extends his arm so that you can’t get close to him. He needs space and is not letting you in. You must give him the physical and emotional space he is asking for, if you want to be his friend.
This is a manipulator. Before you notice anything, you will be seated or out the door, because this person is leading you – through his arm and yours – anywhere he wants. Be wary of the puller or you may end up where you don’t want to be.
The Two-Handed Handshake
During his electoral campaign, John F. Kennedy had a study done on the various types of handshakes, and discovered the two-handed handshake appears to be the warmest: the person shakes your right hand with his right hand, and uses his left hand to wrap it around your right one. You then feel a lot of warmth and support, but there may be a catch: if his left hand is staying on your hand, it is a sincere handshake. However, if the hand goes up your wrist, your arms or your elbow, he is trying to get something from you.
This is a sneaky top-handed shake. The hand starts in a vertical position and, through a twist, it ends up on top of yours. The person is basically saying to you: “I’ll show you I am superior to you!” So beware, and don’t trust this person too much.
This person grabs your whole hand in a good handshake but squeezes your hand too hard and hurts you in the process. He actually means well and usually tries to convey his enthusiasm in the process. However, he is not aware he is crushing your hand. It may be a good idea to tell this person tactfully about the effect of his handshake. If you suspect you are a crusher, use the two-hand shake instead and you will convey the same warmth without any hurt.
There are a few types of handshakes that happen when the two palms are not touching, namely the finger squeeze, the polite pinch and the dead fish. In those three cases, the handshake is very superficial since only the fingers touch. It can be for different reasons, such as thinking of the next thing to do, fear of connecting, desire to hide your true feelings, low self-esteem, etc.
Subconsciously, those types of handshakes are sending a negative message, instead of allowing you to connect. If you recognize yourself in one of them, learn how to shake a hand properly.
The Finger Squeeze
If instead of grabbing the whole hand, essentially the palm, you hold just the fingers, you will hurt the other person’s hand, especially if he or she is wearing rings. Not only you won’t be able to connect, but you will also hurt the person. If you meet a finger squeezer, try to push your hand further so that the two palms will be in contact. If you know the person well, you may want to show them how he can give a good handshake.
The Polite Pinch
The Dead Fish
For specific issues pertaining to handshakes, such as ethnic background, women, sweaty palms, germs, etc., please read my article entitled Social Skills and Diversity in the Workplace.
As you can see, there is a lot more to a handshake than just shaking a hand. Every time you shake a hand, you are sending a strong message about yourself, so make sure it is a positive one.
As a job recruiter once said, “A good handshake won’t necessarily ensure you get the job, but a bad one will certainly reduce your chances to succeed!” So shake it well!
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