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How a Powerful Handshake Will Open Doors

Do you have stories about someone else’s lousy handshake and how it made you feel when someone gave you the “wet fish” or its opposite, the “knucklebuster”’?

Even a technically great handshake can leave you with a feeling that it really wasn’t a “pleasure to meet you.” If you can relate, then consider this: first impressions are formed in less than 20 seconds (Frank Bernieri—University of Toledo) and your handshake will set the tone more than anything else you do in these precious seconds.

Politicians are trained in body language and are keenly aware of the power in their hands, so let’s explore their secrets.

For an example, watch the first 20 seconds of this news clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx_kpuHUJAY&feature=youtu.be

A few days after the Iran deal was finalized, Ash Carter arrived in Israel on his first stop of a Middle East tour to reassure nations who would actually have to live with the consequences of the deal. He descends from his plane and walks onto the tarmac to meet his hosts. Observe how he quickly asserts his authority by closing in on his first two victims’ wrists with his left hand and then shakes longer than is comfortable. On the third intro, the military man moves his left hand in a preemptive elbow embrace which is even more dominating than the classic politician’s handshake where the left hand closes on the other person’s right hand. The higher up we go from hand to shoulder the more condescending the message, with the exception of close friends.

If you follow these seven tips you will connect like you never thought possible:

1. A firm grip, palm to palm will create an instant connection and non-verbally says, “I have confidence and strength.”

2. Warm and dry beats cold and wet, which screams of nervousness or feeling low.

3. Vertical and straight demonstrates equality and respect. If your hand is angled inwards that shows that you wish to dominate, and its opposite is where you have your hand angled outwards so that your palm is slightly pointing upwards; this is being submissive.

4. Shaking three times up and down demonstrates enthusiasm. Now you can say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” and mean it.

5. Make eye contact for the duration to convey interest and your desire to engage.

6. Smile for warmth.

7. Lean forward slightly from the hip; this, again, demonstrates your desire to engage.

Anthony (Pesach) Awerbuch is a certified body language trainer and can be reached at [email protected] or at 201-618-5170 for corporate training workshops or private group coaching.

By Anthony (Pesach) Awerbuch

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