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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.

    Reference

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    Arthur Peirce

    Lifestyle Writer

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    Last Updated on October 30, 2019

    How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

    How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

    Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

    In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

    Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

    You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

    What is the Stages of Change Model?

    Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

    Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

    Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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      The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

      The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

      The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

      The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

      1. Precontemplation
      2. Contemplation
      3. Determination
      4. Action
      5. Maintenance
      6. Termination

      How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

      To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

        Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

        Stage 1: Precontemplation

        At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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        For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

        Stage 2: Contemplation

        At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

        You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

        The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

        Stage 3: Preparation

        At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

        Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

        Stage 4: Action

        When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

        Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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        Stage 5: Maintenance

        After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

        Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

        Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

        Stage 6: Termination

        Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

        However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

        How long does each stage take?

        You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

        So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

        The limitations of this model

        The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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        Require the ability to set a realistic goal

        For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

        If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

        Difficult to judge your progress

        The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

        Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

        Conclusion

        The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

        While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

        Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
        [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
        [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
        [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
        [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
        [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
        [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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