Shake hands firmly

Body language portrays a person's self-confidence. Shaking hands is a big part of a person's body language. First impressions are based partly on how a person does his handshakes.

Handshakes are traced back into Ancient Egypt, around 2,800 B.C. During those times, the right hand is the hand which carries weapons. When a person offers a clean, unarmed right hand to another person, it is a sign of peace and goodwill. Handshakes have endured the test of time and it is still widely accepted as a form of social greeting in our modern times.

If someone thinks of it, the gestures of a proper handshake are not difficult to do. They are fairly simple and can be considered as no-brainers. However, as stated above, handshakes are more than simple gestures since they embody the portrait of a person's self-confidence. Handshakes can go extremely wrong because of nervousness or excitement which can then lead into missed opportunities or moments of awkwardness, to say the least.

There are several well-known forms of handshakes which people should avoid doing. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1) Palm Crusher

The palm crusher is a kind of handshake which tends to give pain to the other person's hand. Of course, this is not usually the intention of the initiator of the handshake but is a consequence of over-excitement or anxiousness to make an introduction.

2) Sloppy Joe

This kind of hand shake can be described as lifeless. It depicts lack of interest and sincerity in doing the gesture. It instantly kills the intention and the general purpose of a handshake.

3) Hand Sanitizer

A handshake is a "hand sanitizer" handshake if someone: makes minimal contact with the other person's hand; or if he overtly wipes his hand after the handshake. This kind of handshake is a dreadful one and instead of building connections and acquaintances, it reverses the purpose of handshaking and instills feelings of anger and hatred.

So how is a proper handshake done? Listed below are the simple steps in making a handshake:

-Approach the person whom you want to shake hands with
-Make eye contact with him/her
-Give him/her a warm smile
-Extend your right hand towards him/her at a comfortable angle
-When he/she extend his/her hand, grasp it until the webs of the palms meet
-Shake a few times
-Make an introduction or a greeting
-End the handshake after 3 to 4 seconds

When someone approaches you and offers a handshake, it is a courteous thing to stand up before shaking his hand. If the right hand is disabled or is carrying something which cannot be put down, shake his hand using the left hand. If both hands are occupied, a simple nod and apology can be done.

In a cocktail party, one must hold his drinks with the left hand, making the right hand fairly available throughout the event for introductions. The right hands should always be clean and dry when making handshakes. If a person has sweaty hands, he may opt to put some antiperspirant (no scent, please!) before going to an event. He may also keep a handkerchief in his right pocket so that he may quietly slip his hand in the pocket to wipe it off before engaging in the gesture. Of course, someone can also wipe his hand at the sides of his pants but this should be done in a discreet manner.

Handshakes can be employed in almost all kinds of social gatherings. Come to think of it, there is no social event that is exempted from the handshake. Handshakes are exchanged in business deals, dates, renewing old acquaintances, job interviews, social engagements and even in Church.

There are few instances when initiating a handshake is not the preferred option. In the business world, when someone faces a person of much higher ranking, it is better not to offer a handshake, especially if the person has nothing important to say to the higher ranking official. The other instance is when both of your hands are carrying stuff which you cannot put down at that moment.

A handshake is more than a simple gesture. It is a simple gesture which builds connections and can leave an impression of a person. Practicing good handshaking can take a person to higher levels, in his career and in building relationships.