Non Verbal Communication
In business, as is in social circles, when we meet people we extend our hand to shake theirs and it’s at that point we make our first impression of them. It’s an interesting time because dependant upon what happens next, future dealings may or may not occur.
Most though don’t seem to put too much thought into the simple act of shaking another’s hand…it’s just something that we do, it’s just a greeting! But is it?
Think about that last handshake, were you on the receiving end of one of those damp, limp, weak handshakes, or was your hand broken by the tightest of squeezes? And whatever handshake you received, consider what you thought immediately after.
Although you may not think too much about a decent handshake, you will most certainly remember a poor one!
It is therefore these so-called ‘soft skills’ or non verbal communication skills that highlight how important it is to make a good impression and of course a firm handshake is an important component in this process.
A well delivered handshake combined with the appropriate eye contact and a pleasant smile makes a great first impression, and, in the case of business dealings, can ensure the start of a business relationship is a good one, which can then last for some time.
In business, as in life, our reputation is one thing that will help us be successful… to have a colleague recommend you as being a good and decent person can be the reason why we secure business opportunities. The foundation of that recommendation can very much come from the simple act of shaking hands, greeting a person and showing good character.
Of course there are Do’s and Don’ts associated with this all important marketing tool!!!
It is important not to shake someone’s hand for too long. You make your greeting and then let go, don’t be one of those people that keep holding the others hand for what seems (to them) an eternity!
Further be careful not to be too anxious to shake hands and end up with a squeeze of the fingertips. This could be a sign that you are in a hurry and therefore not showing appropriate interest in the person you’re meeting.
When shaking hands avoid those that seem to overpower or dominate the other person. I recall a time where [some] people I meet would turn their hand so it was over the top of mine. Apparently that was a sign of strength. I seem to recall these people wearing power suits with shoulder pads too!
Remember that when greeting a person appropriate eye contact is paramount to sending a positive message along with the firm and friendly handshake.
It’s a little like trying to perfect your Golf swing where if you can combine all the elements of a good greeting, i.e. a firm handshake with appropriate eye contact and a polite smile; then you are sending the message out that you are a good person.
Whilst I’m not trying to over complicate the issue, I am trying to raise an awareness as to what benefits can occur from controlled greeting.
Suffice to say, we can no longer consider the humble handshake as being a mindless gesture, as it seems, it is an important part of not only building relationships, but signals how good it could be doing business together.