Everyone has experienced a bad handshake, and for some reason the encounter tends to stick with us.  Whether too forceful or too feeble, a lousy handshake can leave us with unfavorable feelings toward the deliverer. Reactions vary from “yuck”, “eeewww” or even “creepy”, and improper execution ranges from a bone-crushing grip to a dainty fingertip touch. A simple handshake can improve the quality of an interaction, or stop it in its tracks.

Dead Fish Handshake

Despite its apparent simplicity, handshakes can go very wrong.  Let’s take a look at some handshakes to avoid at all costs:

The Dead Fish: This is death knell of all handshakes. Lifeless, lackluster and lame, it suggests timidity and a lack of confidence. To dodge this disaster, make sure your hand comes in full contact with your partner’s and gently but firmly wrap their hand completely with your fingers.

The Bone Breaker: Whether deliberately aggressive or a misconception of personal strength, this handshake leaves the most lasting impression. Unfortunately, that impression is often tenderness and bruising. While firmness and confidence is the goal, going too far can evoke images of Popeye’s forearm after downing a can of spinach.

The Dominator: Around the time we were introduced to the unscrupulous Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street”, someone suggested that extending your hand palm down and over the top of your partner’s established dominance. Wrong. The only thing established here is a lack of self-esteem and desperate one-upmanship.  Both hands should be offered in a perpendicular position only, not palm down nor up.

The Grandstander: Unless you are greeting your grandmother or long-lost son, under no circumstances should you use two hands to cover the other person’s hands. It is too personal, too close for comfort and too cheesy. In a handshake, less is definitely more, so stick to the single hand method at all times.

The Clammy Clamp: Forced, prolonged contact with a hand dripping in perspiration can make even the most unflappable professional falter.But it happens all too often, since 3% of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.  If you are in that number, the key is to be prepared by keeping a handkerchief in your pocket, or subtlety swiping the back of your pant leg before making contact.


The handshake has been in use for thousands of years, in western and non-western cultures alike and theories abound on how and why it began. One explanation is that by extending an empty right hand free from weaponry, one could indicate their peaceful intentions and demonstrate there was no ill will. The up-and-down pumping motion of the handshake is believed to have been a way to force out any knives or daggers concealed up a sleeve.

Our current culture recognizes a firm, confident handshake as the accepted form of both greeting and goodbye. We use it to convey everything from congratulations to the close of a business deal.  Loyalty, friendship, good sportsmanship and trust can all be expressed through a properly executed handshake.  By keeping in mind a few simple points, you can avoid the pitfalls of poorly executed handshake:

Happy Friends With CellphoneTechnology makes leaps and bounds every year. Today, the phones in our pockets have more computing power than the computers used in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969 – truly one giant leap for mankind! Cell phones allow us to instantly connect to family, friends, and business associates and stay in touch with those living on the opposite side of the world, but here are The Five Types of Cell Phone Users We Wish We Could Put On Silent:

  1. The Phony: From afar, the Phonies might fool you – with their eyes locked on the glowing screen, they seem to be busily managing matters that are just too important to wait. But up close, their eyes are glazed-over as they just mindlessly thumb their phone. In an effort to appear busy, uninterested or cool, Phonies stay glued to their devices. It is tempting to pull out our phones in line or on a bus, but look up! Enjoy your surroundings. You never know what you might learn or who you might meet when you emerge from the digital cocoon.
  2. The Devout Texter: These Texters will go to extremes to avoid a phone conversation. They will type up an entire manifesto and send it as sixty individual text messages, rather than simply calling! However, if someone specifies to you their preference, try to adapt. Yes, texting is convenient, but we need to know when to convert. Keep messages short and concise – use this function for simple, mundane confirmations or updates: “On my way!” “See you at 4:00 at the bistro!” or “Call me when you can.” Please, please, please, never text and drive! The American National Safety Council estimates that this poor decision causes 1,600,000 accidents per year, so keep your phone well out of your thumbs’ reach on the road!The Devout Texter Photo
  3. The One-Man Band: The One-Man Band walks into the room heralded by a discordant crescendo of buzzes, chirps, rings, and beeps. [BUM BA-BUM] Notifications serve a purpose – to alert users of an important call or [BEEP] text - but we don’t need to have every [DING] change accompanied by a unique sound [DUN DUN]. And certainly, when you attend an event or talk with others, mute your phone to keep your focus solely on the sounds coming out of their mouths!
  4. The Selfie Junkie: Equipped with two cameras, most smart phones today empower their users to take snapshots frequently and at no cost. This can be both a blessing and a curse. The Selfie Junkies harness this power to fuel their own vanity – taking constant photos of themselves and their surroundings, which they then upload for everyone to admire. An occasional photo can be a fun way to share your daily experiences with others, but keep everything in moderation. No one really wants to see photos of the yogurt you had for breakfast! When taking your pictures, be mindful of those around you. Don’t hold up traffic to get that perfect angle or take pictures of an unknowing or unwilling person.
  5. Cancelling by Text MessageThe Phone Phantom: You’ve called them four times and left two messages in the last four days. You’ve sent them three texts. It’s not pestering – you’ve given them plenty of time to respond, but these Phone Phantoms too often fade into radio silence. Granted, there is no obligation to send out an immediate response to a missed call or text; we should not be tied to our phones! Even so, common courtesy dictates that you make an effort to reply within 24 hours of the call or text. Don’t leave people hanging!

Take the “vice” out of the “device”.

Turn off the phone and get involved in the world around you!

Cancelling by Text MessageTechnology is a wonderful thing. It has opened up many new doors. Today people can connect with others in an instant.

We are also living in a time where technology lets us off the hook. If we forget an appointment, we can blame it on "the email I never received".

Technology is meant to enhance communication, not diminish etiquette. Here are a few tips that will keep technology from damaging your relationships and credibility.

Running Late- Occasionally there will be a time we  will run late due to an unforeseen circumstance. Today people are using technology to let others know they are not on time. This can be through a text message, email or even social media. Technology has made it possible for people to get into a habit of running late simply because they know they can send a quick text. The correct thing to do is to pick up the phone and call to inform the other person that you are running behind, not to rely on any form of technology to pass along that message.

Man Making a Phone CallCancelling- With over 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world, using technology as a scapegoat is now easier than ever. Technology has made it easy to ignore others and to not feel badly about cancelling plans. If you need to cancel plans, call the person as soon as possible. Whether or not you are meeting one person or a large group, if you must cancel, do it in advance... not showing up without a reason is unacceptable.

No Response- Have you ever heard someone say "Oh I didn't receive your message?" Well then, you have just been caught in the midst of:

  1. technology allowing us to be inconsiderate         OR
  2. the downside to technology (sometimes messages just don't reach the intended person.)

Technology has enabled us to give an extremely delayed response or sometimes no response at all. If someone reaches out to you, please respond to them within a timely manner. If you are sending a message of high importance and you do not hear back from the person, a follow up message or phone call is due on your part. We should not automatically think that the person is blatantly ignoring the message.

Canceling W/ A messageLost Art of RSVP- To email or text an RSVP instead of filling out the card sent to you is so rude. If someone takes the time to send you an invitation and they request a specific RSVP, then you need to respond in kind.

Delivering Bad News- Although a text message or email may be the easiest way to deliver bad news, it is not the correct way. Instead of sending out a mass message about a grievance, pick up the phone and call the individuals. Hearing the sound of your voice can make a huge difference.

Dishonesty- While technology has made it easier to cancel plans, it has also made some of us dishonest. If you have to cancel plans be upfront about it instead of making up an excuse. It is not ok to cancel plans and then use social media to show you at another event because you found it more "fun" than your original plans. Please consider the other person's feelings.

Technology is here to stay. It is our job to figure out how to use these forms of communication without letting them damage our relationships. One of the best ways to not let technology damage your relationships is to stick to your word. If you commit to being somewhere at a certain time, then be there.

Sending A Text Message