Handshake Woes – Mini Rant

Okay, here’s the deal. I am a networker. I *love* meeting new people. In most situations, it’s necessary to touch the person when you meet them. I mean, not tooouuuccchhh them, just a simple handshake. Simple? Hardly.

I can’t tell you how many times I walk away from a conversation wondering if either 1) the person didn’t respect me or 2) they thought I was a wuss and couldn’t handle a handshake. I mean, come on, I was a drummer and a pizza dough slapper in a former life, I have some fierce hand muscles. Well, at least I tell myself that. So, don’t wuss out of a handshake with someone! Anyone!

In most instances, your handshake is part of your first impression. This is along with your attire, your business cards and your facial expressions. Since I have your attention, I’ll give my opinion on those things also because this is what this blog is about. My little life of observations.

networking jacksonville

Credit to: http://psychologytoday.com

For attire, there are so many events so what you need to wear could vary greatly. Just keep this in mind:

  • Dress appropriately for the event. It’s okay to overdo it (a bit, usually glitter is not necessary)but, you don’t want to be under-dressed.
  • Have a professional name tag! I got my magnetic name tag from Holmes Stamp & Sign here locally.   I didn’t even know they did that! Great peeps!
  • For women, wear an “impact” piece. Give people something to compliment you on! 😉
  • For men, if you wear a full-on suit, people will probably assume you’re in financial services so mix it up! (just my observation and they usually are!)

Business cards…these are the mini-billboards people are taking with them. Yes, even in this digital age, they are still important!

  • Be creative…if you can. I understand some companies don’t allow you to be. If possible, put a little bit of your personality on this card.
  • Don’t cram too much info on it! Concise and good design wins!
  • Spend the extra money and don’t print yourself or get the free cards from Vista Print.
  • Make sure the information is correct! If something changes, just call it a loss and reprint. Line outs = unprofessional.

Facial expressions…. oh man, this is purely my opinion so don’t go off on me in the comments section. I’m not saying I’m better at this than anyone but I truly enjoy  networking and seemingly get a good response.

  • SMILE — my goodness. I know you know smiling makes you more approachable. Isn’t that why you’re out networking? To meet people?
  • Don’t yawn or look bored. Yes, you may have times where the convo sucks but that’s when you should pay *more* attention so you can find a natural way to get out of the conversation.
  • This is sort of off-topic but a great dude once told me this (he usually doesn’t recognize me now at events since I lost weight. Too funny). Be careful with comedy. It is not universal. You could really offend a potential client or customer. That’s not saying don’t be light-hearted but stay away from sensitive topics.

Now, since you’ve read this far, I want to give you my handshake solution. It’s something I learned a long time ago in Tae Kwon Do. (yes, you can laugh now)

Use a two-handed handshake! I’m going to post a pic but stay tuned, I may even upload a video. It’s *that* important. Shake with right hand and cover with left. The other person feels supported and you don’t have to worry about some wimpy handshake. And guys, this isn’t just you. Women do this to me all the time also. That little rotate your hand in some half-ass attempt at a handshake doesn’t fly with me. I’m not about to kiss your hand. Hell, I’d rather you just go in for the hug at that point.

Okay, rant over. I hope you got some good info from this. Let me know what you come across during your networking.