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December 8, 2011

You can read a lot into a handshake

Handshakes are a very important custom in our culture. Believe it or not, books have been written about handshakes and numerous research studies have been conducted on handshakes as well.

When you meet someone for the first time, it is customary to reach out and shake the other person's hand. How you shake that person's hand, according to studies, speaks volumes about you. The custom dates back to the fifth century B.C.

Do you grasp the other person's hand and shake firmly? Do you barely put any pressure on the other person's hand? How many times does your hand go up and down? How long do you hang on to the other person's hand? All of these, according to researchers, have meaning.

The ideal timing for shaking hands is three seconds with three crisply controlled up-and-down motions. That particular handshake exudes confidence.

If you pull your hand away too early, or have little pressure, you will give the impression of being weak and insecure.

If you hang on to the other person's hand more than three seconds, you'll convey a controlling nature and make the other person uncomfortable.

If you don't fully grasp the other person's hand, you give the impression that you are not interested.

Did you know there was so much to know about shaking hands? There's much more to know about this simple way we greet each other.

My preference would be a simple bow, as some other cultures do. It spreads far fewer germs, and can be a very polite way to greet someone. Could that ever catch on in the United States? Who knows?

For more information on the custom of handshaking, go to your favorite search engine and simply type in "handshaking" and read away.

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