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How to Leave a Great Impression with a Confident Handshake

How to Leave a Great Impression with a Confident Handshake

It has been said that people get an impression of you within the first few seconds. Usually this isn’t so important, this impression can adapt and change after a few seconds. But there are times, for example, before a job interview or meeting someone important that you want to impress, where the first impression is the most important.
In these situations it is important to show self confidence and openness, and this can be achieved with a great confident handshake.

A handshake can tell a lot about the power relationships

The history of the handshake [1] actually goes back many centuries, to ancient Greece, where people would shake each others hands as a way to express trust, as shaking hands demonstrates that neither side is carrying a weapon.

Whilst now, there is no thought that anyone might be carrying a weapon, many people believe that the way you shake someone’s hand tells them a lot. Some feel that the way people interact with each other boil down to power relationships [2] . With this in mind it can be very important to get right.

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Be the one to initiate it, it shows that you’re confident and have greater power

One of the most important things to consider in handshakes is who should initiate it. Really there are two schools of thought. It’s felt that the person of higher power and rank [3] should initiate the handshake, for example: the hiring manager in a job interview. Waiting for the other to initiate the handshake may show deference and respect on your part, however this could be at the cost of your appearance of confidence. Indeed, being the first to initiate the handshake in some circumstances may be seen as bold and a great expression of confidence on your part.

Ensure power balances: mimic the other person’s body language

Thinking back to the idea that human interaction is based on power relations and power balances, there is a way to maintain a good balance of power in a handshake. This can be especially important when you think the other person will try to show a degree of dominance.

President Trump’s [4]  super macho handshake has now become legend, when Trump shake hands he maintains contact for an unexpectedly long amount of time, and halfway through the shake pulls the other person inward. This is Trump subconsciously telling the other person that he is more powerful.

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Recently Trump attempted this on Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, and an unexpected thing happened. When Trump placed his hand on Trudeau’s shoulders, Trudeau did the same, when Trump tried to Pull Trudeau inwards, Trudeau resisted. Essentially Trudeau mimicked Trump’s body language and in doing so, the balance of power was maintained with neither man coming across as dominant. In resisting Trump, Trudeau gained a great deal of international respect.

    Stand to show respect

    Two of the most important parts of delivering a strong, confident handshake happens before your hands make contact. Firstly, it’s always a good idea to stand up to shake the person’s hand. This is especially vital if you are sitting and they are not, as standing up first is both considered polite [5], and is a good gesture of respect.

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    Maintain firm eye contact when shaking hands

    As soon as someone initiates the handshake, until the handshake stops it’s a good idea to maintain eye contact. This is easy when there’re no other people in the room, or you don’t need to shake hands with anyone else, however if you were to look away or (worse) look at someone else, the other person will think you don’t find them interesting or not worthy of your full attention. At best they may feel you aren’t confident, and this can be equally damaging.

    Maintaining eye contact has many benefits, not only do you show the other person that they have your undivided attention, but it also shows confidence as many find maintaining eye contact difficult. Fascinatingly, research [6] has shown that the connection made when people look into each others eyes is so strong that we remember people’s faces more (great for job interviews!) and subconsciously consider them more sophisticated and outgoing. We think the opposite of people who avoid eye contact.
    It’s arguably the most important part of a handshake and it has nothing to do with shaking hands.

    When making eye contact make sure you give them a warm and genuine smile. A true smile is shown in the eyes as much as the lips. Any nervousness or fear you might have will be detected even if you are making sure to move your lips in the appearance of a smile.

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    A Moderate Grip (Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose)

    When shaking their hand make sure your grip is firm, avoid limpness at all costs. You were probably expecting this bit of advice, it is without a doubt the most repeated bit of advice in the world of handshakes. Its popularity is testament to its importance. Yet so many people get it wrong and instead of being firm, they instead deliver a superhuman death grip.
    I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that if the other person leaves the handshake in physical pain, it wasn’t a good one. Instead make sure to give the other person a little squeeze, unless their handshake is limp, a good idea is to match the pressure that they are giving.

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    Arthur Peirce

    Lifestyle Writer

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

    Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

    Hope is not a strategy when it comes to change. Commitment is what is needed to make real change happen. Can people change? Absolutely, but exchanging your excuses for commitment is necessary to get started.

    Human nature leans toward habits, which can become ingrained over the years, but that doesn’t mean habits can be undone.

    The good news is that your personality and behaviors can be changed, but it is up to you. Below are some tips to help you get started with change.

    1. Figure out What You Need to Change

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of something you would like to change. That’s great! The first step toward change is acknowledging that you have something you need to change.

    Look at the repeated problems in your life, the issues that seem to come up time and time again. Do you keep gravitating toward the wrong relationships, but you blame the people you are choosing, rather than looking at your problem in the selection process?

    Do you jump from one job to another, yet blame co-workers and bosses, rather than look at what you may be doing to cause problems and dissatisfaction on the job?

    We are creatures of habit, so look at the negative patterns in your life. Then, look inside to see what’s causing these repeated life problems to occur. If you can’t figure it out on your own, consider going to a counselor for better understanding. Once you recognize the area that requires change, you can move to the next step.

    2. Believe That Change Is Indeed Possible

    There are people out there who believe that personality is unchangeable. When confronted with their problem, such as constant negativity, they lash back with “that’s just who I am.” It may be who you are, but does it need to be?

    Change in personality and behaviors is possible. Nobody stays the same from one year to the next, let alone across a decade, so why not move change in the direction that is best for you? Be proactive about the change you want in your life, including the belief that change can occur.

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    Look for success stories and people who have changed and done what you so deeply desire to do. Seeing that others have been where you have are and have accomplished the change you desire will help you in your process to accomplish that change.

    3. List the Benefits of This Change

    In order for people to change, they need to buy into the premise that the change is necessary for their betterment. For example, maybe your goal is to be more productive at work. There are many benefits that could come from this, including:

    • Getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
    • Having more time for your family.
    • Getting a promotion
    • Being liked and appreciated by your boss.
    • Being part of the success of the company.

    One of the best ways to help yourself stick to the commitment of change is to make a list of the benefits that the change will bring in your life. Make one list of the benefits for your life and another for your loved ones. Recognizing the full spectrum of benefits, including how your change will affect those closest to you, will help you stick with the process of change.

    When you have moments of weakness, or fail on a particular day or time, then getting back on track becomes easier when you review your list on a regular basis. Posting your “benefits of change” list somewhere where you see it often, such as a bathroom mirror, will help you be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing.

    4. Make a Real Commitment to Change

    Make a commitment to the time frame needed for the change to happen. If you want to lose 50 lbs., then set out a realistic plan of a few pounds per week and a timeline that reflects those goals.

    It will take you a lot longer than a month, but setting realistic goals will help you stick to your commitment. Change happens one day at a time. It is not immediate, but over the course of time because of your dedication and commitment to the process.

    It also helps if you make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.[1]

    People can change using SMART goals

      An example of this would be a person who wants to become an active runner so they can tackle a half marathon. The first step would be to research what other people have done for training plans to achieve this goal.

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      Runners World lays out specifics for a beginner to train for a half marathon: “Target the Long Run: Every other week, increase your long run by 1.5 miles until you’re run/walking 13 to 14 miles. On alternate weeks, keep your long run to no longer than three miles. Your longest long run should fall two weeks before your half-marathon. Plan to take about 15 weeks to prepare for the big day.”[2]

      These kinds of specificities will help you create a personalized plan that is achievable and time-bound.

      You can learn more about writing SMART goals here.

      5. Create a Plan of Attack

      You need a set of steps outlined to succeed. This is why 12-step programs are so successful. You can’t simply walk into a meeting and be cured and changed. You need to mentally process the change in order for the change to be lasting and effective.

      Create a plan for your change. Be realistic and investigate what other people have done to change.

      For example, if you are dealing with anxiety and want to change that, then seek out therapy methods to address your problem. Stick with the therapy plan until your change process is complete. Simply hoping the anxiety will someday go away is not a plan.

      6. Commit to Action

      It is wonderful to set a goal for change and to write it down, but if you don’t act, then your mental commitment means nothing. There is no actual commitment unless action follows. To best kick start our change, the key is to act now[3].

      For example, if you committed to lose 50lbs, then now is the time to go join a gym, hire a trainer, and walk into a weight loss clinic to get support. We can make up our mind to be determined to change, but if action does not follow soon thereafter, then you will likely fail.

      If you wait until later that week, you will get caught up in doing your daily routine, things for works, taking care of others, or whatever it may be; there will be distractions that will derail you from taking action later. There is no better time to take action than when you make the decision to change.

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      For example, if you decide you want to finally write that book that is in your mind, but you don’t have a working laptop, then go and get a laptop today. Then, set aside an hour each day after work (and on your calendar) so that you can write. Instead of going out with friends after work, you are committing to achieve this goal, and you have time set aside to make that goal happen.

      7. Find a Support System

      When people want to change, finding a support system is key. A great way to find support is through group therapy or support groups. If you have a substance abuse issue, for example, you can find groups that specialize is supporting you through recovery and change.

      If you prefer to find support in the comfort of your own home, then you can look for online support forums and Facebook groups that deal with whatever change you are looking to pursue.

      Your ability to be successful in change is dependent on your ability to dive in; support systems help you with the initial dive and staying committed thereafter. and will help you stay committed to the process. Don’t underestimate the power you have by partnering with others who are seeking the same change.

      8. Get Uncomfortable

      Change should be uncomfortable. You are entering new territory and stepping out of your comfort zone. Your mind and past habits will be resistant to the change, as it is uncomfortable and difficult.

      If you give up because of the discomfort, then you are destined to fail in your pursuit of change. Embrace the discomfort associated with change and recognize that it puts you one step closer to accomplishing your goals.

      9. Stick to the Plan

      When people decide to change, sticking to it is difficult. If you get derailed from your plan, don’t berate yourself. Instead, allow yourself some margin of error and then get back on track.

      You can’t expect to go on a diet without splurging sometimes. The key is “sometimes.” The sooner you get back on track, the more successful you will be in accomplishing your change goals.

      Other researchers on the topic of change believe this process is about dedication and commitment to the change desired in our day to day lives, as Douglas LaBier from the Huffington Post so aptly stated:[4]

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      “Change occurs from awareness of what aspects of our personality we want to develop, and working hard to “practice” them in daily life.”

      Here are some tips on sticking to a plan:

      Engage in Self-Reflection

      Reflect on things that have derailed you in the past and problem solve them before they happen.

      Jot down those things that tend to get you off track. Now, list ways to combat the derailments before they happen. For example, if you are wanting to lose weight but you work late hours, then commit to morning workouts.

      If you know that in the past you would continually hit the snooze button and subsequently miss the workouts, then hire a trainer for early morning workouts. You are less likely to miss your workout if you have real money attached to it and someone counting on you to show up. You could also schedule morning workouts with a friend, so you know there is someone showing up and you don’t want to let them down.

      Brainstorm solutions for your past derailments so that this time around you are ready to stick to the plan and the commitment you have made to change.

      Define Your Commitment

      Commitment is a daily mental and physical plight when it comes to change. If your commitment is to lose weight, then be specific about how you are going to achieve your change. For example, you decide you are going to stick to 1,800 calories a day and a 1-hour workout every day.

      Then, write those goals down and chart your daily progress. Hold yourself accountable.

      Final Thoughts

      Can people change? Hopefully, by now, you believe that they can. If you have a sense of commitment and persistence, change is possible with any life experience.

      Start small, create specific goals, and don’t wait to get started. You’ll be amazed how far change will take you.

      More on How to Make Changes in Your Life

      Featured photo credit: Jurica Koletić via unsplash.com

      Reference

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