Handshakes are simple. We got taught how to shake hands at school - eye contact, greeting and a firm (but not crushing) shake of the hand in an up and down motion two or three times.
The handshake is an opportunity to make formal contact with someone else and welcome each other in an equal and friendly manner. How someone shakes hands can (and should) also tell you an awful lot about the person you are meeting with.
The premature clasp handshake is annoying but forgivable but no one likes the limp wet fish hand shake. It makes you feel the person you're meeting is not that engaged or not present. Worse than the wet fish is the alpha male power shake though (see video below for extreme versions of this).
With the power shake his hand (seems to nearly always be a man) comes from up high and often palm down, the grasp crushing and the shake a bit too long. Often their other hands comes into play covering the hand shake - suffocating and controlling it. In extreme situations, there is a physical pull that almost pulls you over. This is not a hand shake it a statement of power - almost an assault. Be aware though - often it is not as extreme as with Mr President. Often its just a bit of a twist, a subtle statement. The meaning is the same. This is not an equal relationship I am entering into.
Watch for the signs - and like President Trudeau when President Trump goes for his 'power' shake - resist! Try to make the shake more balanced, more equal, twist back or even as Trudeau does steady yourself. I have even stopped a bad handshake and said to the person I am meeting 'well that was not very good, let's have another go'. It works a treat.
If a handshake is off it can set your entire meeting, relationship off on the wrong foot. It is not a massive deal but it is important.
So if you are a power shaker - stop! We know what you are doing and we judge you. It is not impressive - it's annoying. If you are a wet fish - try harder, be present!
I know that this blog is about content marketing but the upshot of what we write here hopefully leads to long and successful partnerships. They nearly always start with a handshake.
Simple instructions: 1. Know when to use your handshake. 2. Extend your right hand straight before the handshake. 3. Take the other person's hand in a firm but not rock-hard clasp. 4. Keep your hand perpendicular to the ground. 5. Shake up and down no more that two or three times, and avoid excessive pumping/shaking as it becomes annoying and distracting. 6. When giving the handshake, make eye contact and state your usual greetings