Brenner: Blog

What Does a Handshake Mean to You?

Added 6/30/16 by The Brenner Blog Team

A handshake used to be a deal maker. It used to mean “I agree, you agree, let’s shake on it, done deal.” Unfortunately, those days are gone. In honor of National Handshake Day this June 30, we are asking…what does a handshake mean to you? Here are a few things we’ve come up with.

A handshake is:

  • A greeting
  • A signal of parting
  • A gesture of good will
  • A preliminary agreement
  • A signal of trading the spotlight
  • A congratulatory gesture
  • A first impression

The tradition of the handshake goes back to the 5th Century B.C.  In addition to the ideas above, a handshake, when used in business settings, is also an indication of your personality and confidence level, according to the article Business Etiquette: 10 Tips on How to Shake Hands with Confidence.

In addition to giving the proper type of handshake (firm and not limp fish-like, not too many pumps, and usually accompanied by a verbal greeting) be careful to understand cultures. Some cultures offer a hello kiss instead of a handshake, but do not make someone uncomfortable with a hello kiss that is not expected.

Our culture could ever go back to a world where deals are sealed with a handshake. Even if everyone agreed on everything (how boring!) and had integrity to a fault, questions and differences will still usually arise based in changing circumstances, thus the need for legal protection with a written and signed contract. Even so, a handshake is still a great tool if used as a genuine gesture that gives the receiver an insight into your character.

#NationalHandshakeDay is always the last Thursday in June. This Thursday the 30th – shake the hand of one person you wouldn’t normally have greeted that way. Then if things get awkward, tell them, “Oh, didn’t you know? It’s National Handshake Day!”

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