Don’t be rude: There’s no excuse for a bad handshake

I love shaking hands. Or should I say, I like most handshakes.

When a handshake goes well, it is a warm, respectful gesture that suggests each party is open to the introduction, and expects the exchange to be an equal one.

But handshakes can go wrong. And when they do, it’s a bit like opening the office door at the wrong moment: do you pretend that nothing is wrong, or do you tactically withdraw and never speak of what you saw again?

The answer to that is a remarkable one – a bad handshake is correctable.

If I realise I have executed a horror shake – my grip was limp or I heard bones crack, if my eyes wandered around the room instead of meeting those of my new acquaintance – I follow the etiquette experts’ advice and simply turn to my unintended victim and say: “Let’s try that again, shall we?” I then offer a firm, single pump with a good smile, a direct look and a clear, full introduction: “Hi, I’m Kath Walters from LeadingCompany. It’s nice to meet you.”


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