Death Grips

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Happy National Handshake Day!

You heard me right – it’s National Handshake Day, according to Chase’s Calendar of Events.

Take today to perfect your grip – workplace/career experts Pamela J. Holland and Marjorie Brody (also co-authors of Help! Was That a Career Limiting Move?) offer 10 nightmarish handshakes to avoid:

  1. The “macho cowboy”… is the almost bone-crunching clasp many businessmen use to shake hands. What are they trying to prove, anyway? There’s no need to demonstrate your physical strength when shaking another person’s hand.
  2. The wimp… is usually delivered by men who are afraid to “hurt the little lady” when shaking women’s hands. Modern female professionals expect their male counterparts to convey the same respect they’d show their male colleagues.
  3. The “dead fish”… conveys no power. While there’s no need to revert to the macho cowboy death grip, a firm clasp is more powerful than one that barely grabs the hand.
  4. The “four finger”… is when the person’s hand never meets your palm, and instead clasps all four fingers, crushing them together.
  5. The cold and clammy… when it feels like you’re shaking hands with a snake. Warm up your hand first before grabbing someone else’s
  6. The sweaty palm… is pretty self-explanatory, and pretty gross. Talcum powder to the rescue.
  7. The “I’ve got you covered” grip… when the other person covers your hand with his or her left hand as if your shake is secretive.
  8. The “I won’t let go”… seems to go on for eternity because the other person won’t drop his or her hand. After two or three pumps, it’s time to let go. “It’s a lot like a kiss – you know when it’s over,” Brody says.
  9. The “southpaw”… when the person uses the left hand to shake the right hand has food or a drink. Always carry your drink and plate with your left hand to keep your right one free for meet and greets.
  10. The “ringed torture”… when the person’s rings hurt your hand. Try to limit the number of rings you wear on the right hand to only one or tow and be mindful of any that have large stones.
One Comment
  1. Have Ms. Holland and Ms. Brody never heard of disabilities? I have bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome which affects my arms from shoulders to fingertips. I’ve learned to grasp others’ four fingers to prevent them from pressing their thumbs into the back of my hand, a move that will send a wave of agony all the way up my arm.

    If I have time, I politely ask people to shake my hand gently, please, but there’s not always time.

    Do they really think that seeing me bite my lip to avoid crying out in pain is going to make a great first impression?

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