ArticlesBlog

How to Shake Hands like a Gentleman – Handshake Etiquette for Confident Introductions

How to Shake Hands like a Gentleman – Handshake Etiquette for Confident Introductions


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette!
In today’s video, we’ll discuss the what, when, why, and how of handshakes. Often
seen as part of business deals or other types of transactions, handshakes are an
important part of many a social interaction but what’s the best way to
master the handshake? That’s the main question we’ll be answering in today’s
video but as usual, let’s start with a bit of history before we get into
mechanics. Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking, also
known as dexiosis, was practiced as far back in history as the fifth century. In
particular, shaking hands was a common custom in ancient Greece and it’s
depicted in much art from that region during that time period. One theory about
how the handshake originated is that it was meant as a gesture of peace, given
that the hand that was given out to shake could obviously not hold a weapon.
In today’s world, the handshake is commonly performed upon meeting, greeting,
parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an
agreement. In sports or other competitive activities, you’ll also see the handshake
performed as a sign of good sportsmanship. Overall, the purpose of a
handshake is to convey trust, respect, balance, and equality.
We’ve already listed a few situations where a handshake is appropriate but
just in the interest of being thorough, here are a few others. Greeting guests
when you’re the host or hostess of a party or conversely, greeting the host or
hostess when you, yourself, are the guest at a party. Other situations would
include saying goodbye when you’re leaving a gathering, meeting in-laws or
future family members, or meeting someone you haven’t seen in quite a while.
Essentially, a handshake is good to employ with anyone whom you’re meeting
for the first time, as well as friends, family,
and acquaintances with whom you feel a hug or other intimate gesture wouldn’t
be appropriate. Also, on the topic of hugs, be aware that as standards of workplace
equity have increased, it’s no longer appropriate to greet a woman with a hug
especially if she isn’t close to you. The best policy is to simply give everyone a
firm and courteous handshake and you should be good to go and of course,
whenever someone else extends their hand for you to shake, take the opportunity.
After all, no one likes to be left hanging. If, for whatever reason, you do
find that you would like to decline a handshake, be sure to do so politely and
courteously. By the way, we’ve already done a related video on the proper ways
to make introductions and make a good first impression, you can find our video
on that topic, here. More on general handshake tips in a moment but first
here, it’s important to note that some other cultures have specific types of
handshakes or don’t do handshaking at all. For example, in Switzerland, it may be
expected of you to shake a woman’s hand first.
In Russia, a handshake is performed by men but rarely performed by women. In
some countries such as turkey or the arabic-speaking Middle East, handshakes
are not as firm as they typically are in the West. And also, a grip that is too
firm is considered rude in these areas. In China, a softer handshake is also
typically preferred but people shaking hands often hold on to each other’s
hands for an extended period after the initial handshake. Meanwhile in Japan, a
formal bow with one’s hands open and at the sides is typically customary. Bowing
is also preferred in Korea but when a handshake is performed, it should be
softer initiated, by the senior of the two individuals, and done without the
other hand in one’s pocket. Also, it’s a sign of respect in Korea to grasp the
right arm with the left hand when two parties are shaking hands. As a final
example here, Masai men in Africa greet one another by a subtle touch of palms
on their hands for a very brief time. Also, it’s important to note that
specific organizations have their own special types of handshakes to subtly
communicate between members of those organizations. Examples of this would
include the Scout handshake, typically performed with the left hand by both Boy
Scouts and Girl Scouts. And the handshake of the Freemasons, the specific technique
of which is known only to the members of that exclusive group. And we’ve got one
other semi-related technique to mention here, the fist bump. Handshakes have been
found to spread a few different kinds of microbial pathogens. For example, some
infectious diseases like scabies are primarily transferred through direct
skin-to-skin contact. Medical studies have also found though that fist bumps
spread fewer germs overall than either handshakes or high-fives do. Probably
because they’re not involving the palms of the hands. And now that people are
becoming more aware of and sensitive to these different kinds of germs, fist
bumping is becoming more common, if only in non-business settings. You may not
necessarily appreciate the practice if you prefer a more traditional handshake
but if someone extends a fist, you should go ahead and fist bump using the
knuckles of your hand to touch those of the other person. Okay, with all of the
other variations out of the way, let’s get down to business with proper handshakes.
You may think there’s nothing to a handshake but in reality, there are a
number of technical concerns you should be aware of to shake hands properly. First
is the when. We’ve already listed the proper times overall to execute a
handshake but specifically within any one of these social situations, when
should you do it? When another person is speaking or introducing you, wait for
them to finish speaking before you offer your hand. After extending your hand and
while shaking, give the other person a simple greeting, something like “Hi, I’m
Preston! It’s nice to meet you!” or a simple “How are you?” could also do. Next,
the how. If you’re seated, begin by rising before shaking someone else’s
hand. This shows courtesy and also, quite
literally, puts you at the same level as the other person. Remember to make eye
contact and offer a sincere smile to show that you appreciate the
introduction. Also, be generally still and face the other person head-on. After all,
you don’t want to give them the impression that you’re trying to get
away as quickly as possible. If you’re walking, do try to make an effort to stop
and face the other person in order to shake your hand,
if it’s at all possible. Similarly, don’t approach with an extended hand from
behind or to the side of someone, as this may create an awkward opportunity for
your handshake to go unnoticed. Speaking of unnoticed handshakes, if you
are left hanging, don’t panic, we’ll get back to mistakes in a moment.
Traditional etiquette dictates that the person in the higher level of authority
or age should be the one to take the lead when executing a handshake. For
example, during a job interview, the interviewer should be the one to offer
their hand first, however, if you are in one of these situations and the senior
individual doesn’t take the lead, if you still feel that a handshake would be
appropriate, you can take the initiative. Remember to extend your hand with a
smile and a warm comment. Here’s a particularly critical point, grip
pressure. You should make sure that your handshake is firm and not limp.
Nobody likes a dead fish handshake, however, on the flip side, you also don’t
want to be one of those people that crushes the other person’s hand with a
death grip. In other words, your grip should reflect positively on you, it
should communicate that you’re not aggressive or passive but rather
assertive. Along these same lines, shake hands
from your elbow, not from your shoulder. If the force of your handshake is coming
from your entire arm, there’s a possibility that you’re going to jolt
your conversational partner around which definitely isn’t desirable. Regarding the
point of contact, you should try to go for a web touch, which is to say, the webbing
between your thumb and index finger should meet that same point on the other
person’s hand. Just as nobody likes a limp handshake, getting a handful of
fingers is also equally awkward. Most people and cultures will use the right
hand for a handshake unless they have a specific reason to use the left such as
injury. If you would like to shake hands with a person who only has a left hand,
then obviously, use your left as well. And a related point, even though you’re
probably going to be shaking with your right hand, your left hand should still
be visible and it shouldn’t be clenched into a fist. This may come across as
hostile in most business situations. Your left hand should just remain at your
side and you shouldn’t use it when shaking with your right to cup the other
person’s hand or touch their arm. The use of two hands when shaking hands with
strangers is often seen as intrusive and it can sometimes be referred to as the
politicians shake because it’s seen as artificially friendly. One additional
note about hygiene here, your hands should be free of any dirt, grease, food,
or debris when shaking hands with someone. If you suffer from sweaty or
clammy hands, make an effort to blot your hand on your trousers or on a
handkerchief before shaking hands with someone. Conversely, if you happen to
shake hands with someone else who has sweaty palms,
don’t try to wipe your hand off right away as this will probably come across
as disrespectful. To wrap things up today, here are a few general etiquette tips on
what to do when hand shaking mistakes do occur. First of all, if you are left
hanging, try not to feel too embarrassed about it. Most likely, the situation
wasn’t that the person didn’t respect you enough to give you a handshake, it
was simply that your timing in the situation was off. If you do make a
mistake with your handshake technique or timing, simply try again. When you think
the time is appropriate, you could maybe add a bit of self-deprecating humor and
of course, don’t forget to smile. So mastering the
art of the handshake is key to looking courteous and confident whether in a
business setting or elsewhere. Armed with all of these tips, you should have any
potential situation well in hand. Also, one more note here today, you can
check out our playlist of etiquette videos, here. in today’s video I’m wearing
a typical business style outfit that does have a few colorful elements to it
the main feature of the ensemble is of course the medium blue suit and I’ve
paired it with a pastel blue shirt for a harmonious color field my accessories
today are from Fort Belvedere including my cufflinks which are in platinum
plated sterling silver in a monkey’s fist knot design also my tie is a
relatively new design in the Fort Belvedere shop it’s a jacquard silk
print featuring repeating diamond motifs in a color we’re calling battleship gray
the diamond motifs of the tie are in black blue and an off-white color which
is echoed by my light brown linen pocket square that has a hand rolled yellow X
stitch my small boutonniere is a light blue Veronica persica and my socks also
from Fort Belvedere are incorporating some warmer tones their shadow striped
socks in navy with a red stripe rounding out the outfit today are my shoes which
are whole cut Oxfords in an ox blood-red color

Comments (73)

  1. Great video. Would've been cool if you guys used the handshake line from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sports aspect

  2. Great idea for a video ! Please, bring us more of these commond every day things ! Since the bigining of 2019 I’ve been trying to improve my handshake salute by myself….

  3. Why does Kyle look like a mob boss

  4. hello … thumbs up for great video my friend…

  5. Hi, my hands tend to get cold when I'm nervous. Any tips on how to make this less apparent while shaking hands? Does rubbing hands together before giving a handshake give off any negative impression/body language?

  6. Preston, let me tell you brother, you look like an alien

  7. Preston!! stay perfect bro?

  8. The exemples are excellent

  9. Omg Raphael! Looks like you almost broke Preston's hand while shaking his hand! Lol ?

  10. I love giving delayed dead fish handshakes to people I don't like

  11. This is literally the only channel on YouTube that would do a 12 minutes video on shainkg hands – cant wait to watch it!

  12. Belgium:
    handshake with men
    kiss on the cheek with women

  13. It’s also good to shake hands when you’re thanking someone

  14. Hello, My name is Yasir and I'm from Turkey.

    I want to say something about the video.
    Actually in Turkey, there are different cultures live together. So there are lots of different rules about living.
    I can easily say that nearly %35 of the Turkish people living like a real "European".

    I kindly want to say that Turks are not Arabs. If you search "How Did Arabs Betrayed The Turks?" you can understand the difference.
    Showing Turks like Arabs is a policy of our current goverment because they want to converts our socio-cultural structure.

    Love your show by the way. It teaches a lot.
    Thank you.

  15. There actually is a formula for the perfect handshake

  16. Hey preston, just a quick question, if it might attack you i am very sorry! I do not try to hurt your feelings in any way. In this video i noticed that your right leg is shorter than your left. Is that true or a false assumption?

  17. How do I refuse a handshake without being rude though? I don't like shaking hands with the opposite gender and I have no idea how to say no so that he gets it and it doesn't seem rude. >.<

  18. Amazing video. I once worked with someone whose right hand was amputated. Amazing thought.
    One comment: you could skip the history and culture intro and go straight to the practical aspects, it comes off like you have no content.

  19. Is it weird that i can almost exactly tell whats going on and whats being said in the little demonstration videos?

  20. PRESTON! you are looking very dapper! nice fit now and great combination of colors! you go man! super happy to see you doing well! cheers

  21. Can you guys reveal the “Freemasonry” secret handshake ?

  22. 0:36 I want to see the full concert

  23. If there’s anything I would like the west to adopt it’s bowing to replace handshakes.

  24. What is sweaty palm etiquette? I struggle with almost constantly sweaty palms so I'm curious to hear the Gazette's point of view.

  25. Will Trump watch this?

  26. I ll never forget a teacher picking his nose then extending the same hand for a handshake..

  27. Besides improving one's etiquette, this would be a great informative video for aliens trying to study and colonize us 😛

  28. When are we going to see the footage from Preston's concert?

  29. Interesting video. PLEASE cease with these obsequious little innuendoes which sneak in often lately in your videos… The same old references to " BCE"…. You say that hugs are "inappropriate" ???? that is patently ludicrous..TO WHOM is it inappropriate, sir? Perhaps you should all develop a thicker skin. Oh yes…FIST BUMPS!!??? WHAT ??? Gentleman's Gazette espouses the style of a gentleman….but some of your comments are way off base and this specious palavering to pc idiocy is offensive to many. Judging by your past record…surely you will fail to respond. Gentlemen..Mr. Schulter and Mr. Raphael…this is the United States of America..it is not China, Korea, Africa..et. al. . We say A.D., B. C. and Merry Christmas…period.

  30. Bad advice. One should greet people by smashing their heads into the corner of a marble coffee table, causing massive trauma and blood loss. Then insert a prize winning massive courgette in their twitching sphincter.

  31. The suit colour suits you very well, especially with the grey of the tie.

  32. God I’ve been doing this wrong

  33. I would be interested to hear your take on some of Donald Trumps hand shakes (yanks and pulls in). Hilarious to watch, and he doesn't do it to everyone. It seems to be some kind of "game".

  34. I HATE that "bro" bump fist. Please grow up!

  35. Hello Clark Kent lol, how are you sir? Merry Christmas to you and to your family.

  36. I bet Trudeau has the 'dead fish' handshake down pat.

  37. I'm a big fan of your channel. I love the education on men's style and on etiquette. I would like to recommend another topic that seems to be a lost art…writing notes such as thank you notes, sympathy notes, congratulations or invitations and the stationary a gentleman needs to have to send these notes. I have seen the videos regarding classic fountain pens now maybe there could be a video educating us on how best to use it. Thanks for listening.

  38. He sounds like a schmuck ???

  39. This is a fantastic video as handshakes are a very subtle yet important part of gentleman's conduct. Taking it a step further, consider the angle at which your hand is extended. Palm up means you are putting your guest above you. Palms equal means "you and I are on the same level". Palms down indicate a more "commandeering attitude". In the business world I always shake my customer's hands with my palm up slightly. On the other hand if anybody shakes my hand with their palm down I deliberately turn their hand during the handshake to make them equal with me. Thumbs up on your great video.

  40. Great video Preston

  41. See President Trump shake hands? DON’T do that!!!

  42. Two criticisms. You should not promote the "fist bump". Nor should you promote Freemasonry. Both are bad. Sincerely…

  43. There is an entire science behind handshakes, but it is a way in which I take my first and usually lasting impression of others. This is a class they should teach in high school!

  44. Omg in about 3 minutes im gonna meet my gf father and needed a gentlemanly advice and you sir, talkin about history first

  45. Your commentary and explanation of the fist bump was excellent.

  46. You are wrong about Turkey. We greet each other with a firm handshake and a kiss per cheek.

  47. My biggest pet peeve with handshakes is most people rush through them or catch me unaware so I rarely have time to firm up my grip!

  48. A Guide for Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron^^

  49. When holding your right hand out if shakes it with their left I know myself and many others take it as them disrespecting your gesture. Handshakes are a form of agreement and when someone gives me their left I take it as them saying we're not in agreement.

  50. When at social gatherings try to remember to hold your cold beverage in your left hand so that if you have to shake hands at any point your not throwing out you cold wet hand to greet the other person

  51. Iam just doing the Donald Trump Handshake everytime, throwing around the other person to assert dominance. Just kidding, like always a great video from you. I liked you highlighted the aspect of standing up in a seated context, that is a major issue today while it was really all about showing meeting on eye level in classical european (as well as american of course) citizenry.

  52. Very informative video. Thank you.

  53. In some countries both hands are used for those who are elderly or in higher position of respect.

  54. Good to know that Raphael doesn't run the entirety of GG and Fort Belvedere

  55. his wife looked genuinely weirded out by his hug

  56. Very nice shoes, Preston?
    Where have you got these? Shoepassion?

  57. 12 mins for a handshake!!! It's really a art

  58. I’d like to see a first encounter guide especially on dates

  59. Can u guys do how to properly sit and take proper gentleman dump next? Thnx looking forward for it

  60. 11:11 "armed with all of these tips, you should have any potential situation well in-hand."
    Can't put my finger on it, but Mr. Preston is a smooth talker, gotta hand it to him. Clap clap

  61. When there's a 13 minutes video about a thing that takes a second or two, here comes quality content

  62. One trick is to imagine that you have a raw egg in your hand, if you’re too loose the egg will drop and break or if you’re too firm you’ll crush it and leave an unpleasent mess.

  63. Next time: “Elements of Hand-shaking with a Washington-based Orange-haired Primate”.

  64. Stop handshaking! It is the main source of infections.
    Or do it like „Mr. Monk“. ?

  65. I really wish this video featured the other guy

  66. 1- Turkey is not Arabic country, Turks and Arabs are different civilizations. Only the Religion is common. Does Germans and Briths are same because of same religion they have? No.

    2- In Turkey handshaking rules are same like other western countries that point in this video. The only thing is you should wait from women to shake hands.

  67. Ronnie o'Sullivan intensifies

  68. Absolutely on the left hand. Shake the left hand with the left hand.

  69. Love the oxblood shoes.

Comment here