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Shake of the Hand, Shake of the Head

June 02, 2014 3 Minutes 1 Comment

The way a man shakes another mans hand can tell you a lot about the character of that person. First impressions do last, and there is no more initial impression than is felt with the handshake.

In my time, I’ve come across all forms of handshakes, and we automatically deduce an opinion of that person almost instantly, so why do so many men get it so wrong. Last Friday I was out at a work function, and was introduced to a fellow  employee whom I had not previously met. He stuck his hand out, and while he was a nice person, his handshake screamed otherwise. It was limp, weak, and borderline disrespectful.

So let’s take a look at the different handshake styles we come across in our day-to-day dealings.

The Dead Hand | Like shaking hands with a dead fish, this limp and poor attempt at human relations leaves a bitter taste to anyone who receives it. It feels as if they have no bones in their hand at all.

The Statement |Some men go too far and try and imply their dominance and prestige by the overbearing and almost painful handshake, crushing your hand as if the receiver is to be impressed by this mans enormous strength.

The No Man Hand | The pinnacle of handshake failures. The man who performs this is almost always, for lack of a better word, a jerk. A combination of The Dead Hand combined with zero eye contact and a quick get a way. As if these men were raised with no manners at all. I had the displeasure of this shake a few months ago and I still retrospectively dream of what I would say to him if I had the time over. Fair to say, there was no real man on the other end of his hand.

 The Statesman | Strong, two or three shakes and full eye contact. What it reveals is a man literate in man-to-man dignified interaction. No nonsense, confident and in control.

The Prestige | My personal favourite reserved only for those who carry themselves with class and distinction. It is often misunderstood if performed incorrectly or insincerely, but when done right is a sign of a true gentleman. A Statesman shake but held and followed with a second hand for two shakes. Done correctly it leaves you feeling that the other person had a genuine interest (if departing) or is keen to be in your presence (if arriving). This will fail if flaunted as insincere appreciation.

The Terminator | Similar to The Statement, however this statement is on steroids and is angry. It’s like the persons hand is a bully and yours is a geek with too much lunch money.

The Anti Shake | The hand is there, but there is no movement. Cue the tumbleweed as you try and figure this character out.


In summary, greet with energy, enthusiasm and an outstretched arm, hold firmly and make eye contact. One or two shakes and you’re out of there! If you’re hands are full, make the effort to empty them to shake his hand. However if your hands be unclean, say so and do not try and wipe them down and then go in for an awkward shake unless you can quickly and thoroughly clean your hands that instant. If you have sunglasses on, take them off with your left hand as you go in for the shake, and please, if you’re seated, nothing says respect more than to stand for another human being.



1 Response

Marina De Giovanni
Marina De Giovanni

July 18, 2014

Awesome read!

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