It is a given that when you attend a networking event you should prepare yourself to shake dozens of hands. Some handshakes leave you feeling confident that someone may be able to serve your needs and others make you want to run away and wash your hands a dozen times. Here are a few different types of handshakes I have identified during my own networking experiences:
The dead fish
Have you ever shaken hands with someone whose hand felt sickly limp in yours? Your shake may have been firm to the point of feeling like you may break their hand, or the limpness makes you feel like you should be kissing the hand of royalty. I call this the “dead fish.” It’s gross and it makes you seem weak and unconfident. Don’t do it.
Some people shake with both hands. They grab you with a nice firm handshake, then their other hand closes in on top of yours so they are completely surrounding you. It may make you feel powerless or like they are taking control of you. Remember, your introductory handshake is usually given to someone who doesn’t know you or your personality. Allow them some control in when to let go. The two-hander takes control from the other person and instantly puts them on the defensive. Don’t be a two-hander hand shaker.
The confident networker
The confident networker is easy to spot. They walk around the room straight and tall, smile, look others in the eye, and when they walk up to you one hand reaches out with a nice, firm, but not overbearing, grip. They exude confidence in themselves and give the other person a sense of importance and control. This person is who you should aspire to be. Even if you feel like a dead fish or if you’re a Type A who is used to being in charge, the confident networker is ultimately the one who will give the best first impression.
*This is an excerpt from Kristen’s latest book, 21 Ways to Build Powerful Relationships Through Networking
So are you a “dead fish?” Or have you had another hand-shaking experience that you learned from? Share your comments below!
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