Here's Part II of a little catalog of guidelines for handshake greetings in the USA. Read Part I.
- Lock hands
- Lock hands with your partner, with the web connecting your thumb and index finger meeting theirs. Close your fingers around the bottom edge of your partner's palm. Grasping just their fingers, or offering just your own fingers, can feel like a put-down. Preventing web-web contact by keeping your thumb in your palm is called a "dead fish handshake." It's decidedly offensive.
- Pump once or twice
- Pump up and down once or twice, for at most two or three seconds. Pumping more than twice risks appearing foolish, over-eager, or obsequious.
- Know when not to hold on
- Holding your partner's hand after the pumps are finished, usually while talking, can be affectionate and warm, if you know the person well. It can also be a dominance tactic. Use with extreme care.
- Use firm pressure
- Hold your partner's hand with firm pressure, but not painfully so. Strong people must take care. Too little pressure communicates weakness or timidity.
- Withhold comment
- If your partner uses an extremely strong or weak grip, or has cold or sweaty hands, or doesn't want to shake hands, or breaks any of the "rules," let it pass. There might be a good reason: arthritis, poison ivy, or goodness knows what.
- Don't wipe your hand
- Wiping your hand Accompanying
touch is riskybefore or after shaking hands can offend. Even if you have good reason, such as sweaty palms or wet hands, some might feel offense.
- Accompanying touch is risky
- The two-handed handshake, or touching your partner's right arm with your left hand during the handshake, can be seen as affectionate if you know each other well. Otherwise, it can be a dominance gesture, which might offend.
- Smile, but not too much
- A nice smile is usually welcome, but a broad, long-lived grin can seem ingratiating or foolish unless you know each other well.
- Take deformities and disabilities in stride
- If your partner can't use his or her right hand, or if it is missing or deformed, the left hand will do just as well. If you know in advance that the right hand is unavailable, and the left is, use your left. If your right hand is already extended, use it and make the best of it. If neither of your partner's hands is available, a warm touch might be welcome. Use your judgment: a warm smile is nearly always safe.
- If your right hand is unavailable
- If you can't use your right hand, offer your left. Offering early might save your partner some embarrassment, but that's up to you. If neither of your hands is available, a warm smile and a nod will do nicely.
Is every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenfPisQwhtshXzxJVvner@ChacUYLEiQVcXCoqJzufoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Should I Keep Bailing or Start Plugging the Leaks?
- When we're flooded with problems, and the rowboat is taking on water, we tend to bail with buckets,
rather than take time out to plug the leaks. Here are some tips for dealing with floods of problems.
- Help for Asking for Help
- When we ask for help, from peers or from those with organizational power, we have some choices. How
we go about it can determine whether we get the help we need, in time for the help to help.
- Coping and Hard Lessons
- Ever have the feeling of "Uh-oh, I've made this mistake before"? Some of these oft-repeated
mistakes happen not because of obstinacy, or stupidity, or foolishness, but because the learning required
to avoid them is just plain difficult. Here are some examples of hard lessons.
- Wacky Words of Wisdom: V
- Adages, aphorisms, and "words of wisdom" are true often enough that we accept them as universal.
They aren't. Here's Part V of some widely held beliefs that mislead us at work.
- Brain Clutter
- The capacity of the human mind is astonishing. Our ability to accomplish great things while simultaneously
fretting about mountains of trivia is perhaps among the best evidence of that capacity. Just imagine
what we could accomplish if we could control the fretting…
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 8: Multi-Expert Consensus
- Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus, members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision with all its relationships intact. Available here and by RSS on July 8.
- And on July 15: Disjoint Concept Vocabularies
- In disputes or in problem solving sessions, when we can't seem to come to agreement, we often attribute the difficulty to miscommunication, histories of disagreements, hidden agendas, or "personality clashes." Sometimes the cause is much simpler. Sometimes the concept vocabularies of the parties don't overlap. Available here and by RSS on July 15.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenfPisQwhtshXzxJVvner@ChacUYLEiQVcXCoqJzufoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
- Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?
Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.