The handshake is a simple, short ritual that goes back in history as far as 5th Century BC. Today, it is considered a sign of good manners to shake someone’s hand, especially in the business environment, when you’re meeting and greeting someone, congratulating them or signing a deal. The purpose of this ritual – to convey trust, respect, and equality.

But did you know, the people you meet make calls about the type of person you are, based on this simple, short ritual? Your handshake can give a lot away about your personality so, read on to find out what your handshake is saying about you.

The perfect handshake
Let’s start, by talking about what constitutes a perfect handshake. A handshake is more than just a hand gesture – it’s about your body language too. So, start with a good posture and smile! Make eye contact with the other person, as you hold out your right hand. Give their hand a good, firm shake, for approximately 2 seconds, and repeat their name.

The perfect handshake instills confidence, creates a great first impression and illustrates perfectly, how trustworthy, confident and prepared you are.

The bone crusher
The idea of a handshake is to greet the other person, not break the bones in their hand! If you’re squeezing too hard, you’re showing too much power – and people are going to wonder what you’re compensating for. Strong leaders can have this type of handshake but, for general networking, it’s going to turn people off you.

The limp handshake aka dead fish handshake
The handshake has no life in it and shows others that you lack confidence and ability. It can also be a sign of someone with no energy or ambition.

The lingering handshake
This starts as a normal handshake, but gets a tad uncomfortable when they forget to let go! If someone has a lingering handshake they may be open and sincere, but they could also be desperate and needy.

Hip and fancy handshakes
This includes fist-bumps and the like. Quite simply – don’t! In a business there’s no room for the latest trend in greeting. This shows off your immaturity and general lack of respect and awareness.

The two-handed shake
This one is a for politicians and used-car salesmen, as it implies sincerity and intimacy. The problem is, it seldom feels that way to the receiver! This type of handshake has the other person shaking your right hand, whilst their left hand is either grasping your right hand or your wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder or neck. It illustrates a person who wants control and, at worst, manipulation. The higher their hand, the greater that need.

The twisting handshake
Finally, we have the twisting handshake. This one is all about winning. They grasp your hand in a normal, firm handshake, but then aggressively twists your hand under their, so theirs is on top. And that’s what it’s all about – being on top. They’re signifying that, although you may be equals now, they’re going to catch you off guard or turn on you, to eventually take control. They’re showing how deceitful and dishonest they can be, right from the outset.

There are so many different types of, with each giving the other person a glimpse into who you are, as a person. In any networking scenario, it pays to keep the good old-fashioned, yet incredibly respectful, ‘perfect’ handshake.