How To Shake Hands Like A Kennedy - Part 2

Posted by in Career Advice

As I said before, one of the best examples of great handshaking was John F. Kennedy. He shook hands and let people know that he was dependable, diplomatic, calm and trustworthy. All of that with just a simple handshake? Absolutely. This is why it is so important to master this art.
There are some people who say that they don't feel comfortable shaking hands with people and feel that it is an outdated formality. Others, who say that as women, they shouldn't be expected to shake hands. And still others who wonder if it is appropriate to offer a handshake to a woman.
As a woman, I will tell you that giving a good handshake is even more crucial for the ladies in the professional world. The sad truth is that we still face sexism in the workplace and there are people who still have trouble believing that a woman is as capable as man in the business world. A good handshake will demonstrate your professionalism, your confidence and instill trust. If you aren't comfortable shaking hands, then follow these steps and practice as much as you can until you become a pro.
How to shake hands like a Kennedy:
  • When greeting someone, make eye contact.
  • When you are about three feet away, extend your arm
  • Slightly angle your arm across your chest, with your thumb pointing up.
  • Lock hands, thumb joint to thumb joint.
  • Firmly clasp the other person's hand – not too hard, this isn't a show of strength, but not loosely either.
  • Pump the persons hand one or two time, but no more than three times.
When greeting someone new, say “Hello” while you are making eye contact. As they reach out to you, they will tell you their name. While you are shaking their hand, continue making eye contact and introduce yourself. It is a great idea to also repeat their name while you are shaking their hand.
Here is how it would work in an interview:
Interviewer: Ms. Kennedy. How are you? I am Mr. Smith. (extends hand)
Me: (smiling, making eye contact) Mr. Smith. (clasp hands) It is a pleasure to meet you. (while pumping once or twice) Please, call me Melissa.
Interviewer: (making eye contact) It is nice to meet you Melissa. (releasing hand) Please, come on in to my office.
Really, it is just that easy. But, once you have it mastered, you may want to add a few different versions of the handshake to your repertoire.
The Double Handshake
If you look at old news footage of President Kennedy, you will see that he often clasps his left hand under the shaking hands, doing a double handshake. This sort of handshake isn't ideal for situations where you are meeting someone older, or in authority for the first time, like a job interview. It is however, a great way to greet professional acquaintances and business contacts you haven't seen in awhile. It is a bit more intimate than the traditional handshake, and it can be a wonderful way to greet clients who you have been working with for a long time. It makes the handshake a bit warmer and will make them feel that you are genuinely happy to see them; which you most likely are.
When attempting a double handshake, remember to make eye contact and say their name. It is a good idea to mention something you know about them. For example, if you run into a former co-worker or business associate at a conference, and you recall that last time you spoke with them, they were telling you about the new house they had just closed on, you may want to try saying something like this:
“Tom, (clasp hands like a traditional handshake and while talking, quickly add the left hand clasp) It's great to see you. How are you enjoying the new house? (let go)”
This will let them know that you remember their name and that you are genuinely interested in them.
The Left Arm Clasp
Another version of the traditional handshake is the left arm clasp. This is especially effective when you are talking to a co-worker, someone who works under you or a client after a business meeting. Basically, it is the same as a traditional handshake, except you use your left hand to clasp their right, upper arm. For example, if you had invited a client to your office for a meeting, and when the meeting was over, you wanted to tell them goodbye and end the meeting, it would look something like this:
Professional: “Thanks again, John, (extend hand, clasp hands then place left hand on the person's right upper arm) I look forward to working on this project. (release hand, but move the left hand to pat them on the shoulder or upper back) Drive safely. (put left hand down).
With some practice, it is easy to master the art of giving the perfect handshake. Don't be afraid to ask your friends and family to help you get more practice and start shaking hands with everyone you meet. Trust me, no one will be upset when you offer them a great handshake.
Are you looking for a job in Logistics? Be sure to visit LogisticsJobSite.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

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