Handshake Protocol

People shake hands differently in the United States.

In the business setting, it seems the same – opposite hands of the two participants, fingers down, thumb apart and up. Points to note:

  • Handshakes need to be firm, regardless of anything. Firm handshakes indicate determination (or that you read this post).
  • An NLP person would say at this point that the rotational orientation says something about the relationship between the two people involved. If your hand ends up on top, you’re the dominant person, and vice versa – so, the ideal handshake is one where both palms remain vertical, indicating an equitable relationship. I guess I’ve found that to be mostly true.

These are the commonalities. The differences occur in a social setting. Now – I haven’t been giving “high fives” when we complete a group assignment, or some such – but the normal social greeting handshake isn’t the handshake above. Strange but true!

Here’s the format. On approach, your opposite number will offer a raised hand, palm towards you. This is not a high five. Instead, offer your opposite hand in a similar posture, and clasp hands as if you were going to arm wrestle, but just for a moment.

Enjoy your greetings!


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