First impressions are important – in fact they are probably more important than you might care to believe. A first impressions isn’t a time for a high five or a fist bump, it is time for a good, old fashioned hand shake.
You can’t afford to have your first ever contact with a potential new boss, a new client or your girlfriend’s father to leave them questioning your confidence, but you also don’t want them to come away with the impression that you are overcompensating by going to hard or too far with your handshake.
When you are meeting someone for the first time, follow these few simple tips to make sure that your first impression is strong, confident and lasting in the best way possible:
Stand to Deliver
If you are in a waiting room, living room or at your desk at the outset of a new introduction get up out of your seat to deliver your handshake. Standing up to greet someone is a sign of respect and shows someone that you are interested in making their acquaintance.
Focus on hitting the target – extend a flat, open, dry hand so that your palms meet and close your fingers and thumb around the other persons hand firmly and confidently (loose, wet and lazy handshakes can be worse than no handshake at all). Remember that this isn’t a competition though – you are not trying to out squeeze an opponent to earn the unofficial title of handshake champion, shoot to apply an equal amount of force to what you receive from your new acquaintance.
Look them in the Eye
Making and maintaining eye contact through the introduction is also a critical piece of the puzzle. Let your new acquaintance now that you are fully invested in this moment. A smile and simple greeting or nod of acknowledgement also work well at this point to drive home the fact that you are interested and eager to be a part of this new relationship.
The Right Amount of Time
The duration or a handshake is also important – you don’t want to pull out immediately as if the other person’s hand is made of fire, but you don’t want to linger for too long either. Right around three seconds of firm contact seems to be the ideal for the perfect introductory handshake.