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How to Deliver a Handshake That Makes People Remember You

How to Deliver a Handshake That Makes People Remember You
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Of all the kinds of greetings, I love handshakes the most. A great handshake can convey your warmth and strength. It can show the other person that you are supportive and trustworthy. A great handshake sticks with me–even if I only met the person who gave it once.

Neuroscientists confirm a good handshake makes a lasting impression

Whether we’re networking for business or meeting someone at a social function for the first time, rendering a proper handshake is a great way to make a first impression.

In ancient times, the handshake was a way for people to show that they were unarmed.[1] Just like today, a handshake conveyed a willingness on the part of both parties to have a safe and productive conversation.

In business, we shake hands all the time. Unlike many body language cues that we analyze when we meet someone for the first time, the handshake involves physical contact. The way that you shake hands with someone, and the way that you reciprocate, communicates volumes about the interactions to follow.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that a proper handshake has the power to promote positivity between people engaging in the behavior as well as observers.[2] A confident handshake increases a person’s interest in the interaction, reduces negative associations, and communicates on a deeper level than a verbal exchange.[3]

The worst handshakes I received

We’ve been making deals and solidifying agreements with handshakes for centuries, but that doesn’t mean that we always get it right. Handshake etiquette is rarely formally taught, but most of us can tell the difference between a good one and a bad one.

I distinctly remember shaking hands with a nervous gentleman at a conference. His palm was clammy and cold, and his hand flopped like a dead fish. Without saying a word, I could tell that he was uneasy about the situation.

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On the opposite end of the handshake spectrum, my father’s coworker once shook my hand with such force that I thought he might actually crush the tiny bones in my hand. From the context, I knew that he was just a strong personality asserting himself, but in other contexts this could be seen as a show of force.

Handshakes are not always friendly gestures. In some cases, they are power plays in which an aggressive grip serves as a way to manipulate another person into listening or submitting.

Initiating a handshake makes people feel that you’re confident

    The initiator of the gesture demonstrates confidence. Normally, the person with more power will initiate the handshake. If you wish to show respect to the person you are meeting, you may wish to wait for them to begin the motion.

    When you are at a job interview or you are about to engage in a negotiation, you can let others know that you are a confident person by extending your hand first. For an audience that is more conservative or one which the individual is of much higher status than you, it’s better to wait to show that person respect.

    Mimic the other person’s body language

    In most cases, the gesture is meant to promote positive feelings, but it can also be used as a form of social posturing. During political meetings especially, one party will attempt to show their dominance over another by using an aggressive or controlling handshake.

    The handshake between U.S. President, Donald Trump and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is a great example of a handshake being used as a power play.

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      Donald Trump is well known for his unusual manner of shaking hands, and recipients have different ways of responding to the situation.[4] In the case of the Trump and Trudeau handshake, Trump began by placing his hand on Trudeau’s shoulder. Trudeau mirrored this action, which is proper handshake etiquette.

      The handshake didn’t end there, though. Trump’s signature handshake involves jerking the other party toward him. When Trump pulled Trudeau toward him, he resisted with the hand that rested on Trump’s shoulder. Trudeau mimicked the body language up until it became too domineering, at which point he stood his ground. Trudeau gained international respect by handling a potentially awkward moment with grace and maintaining a balance of power in the exchange.

      Offer a trustworthy greeting using the double-handed method

      There are many nuanced ways to shake hands, but if you want to show that you’re trustworthy, give a two-handed handshake.

      This maneuver isn’t appropriate for every situation. If you are meeting someone for the first time, a double-hander can seem too intimate. After you’ve had some time to form an emotional bond with the person, you can use this technique.

        This two-handed approach says, “I’m trustworthy,” because it doubles the amount of physical contact that you have with the other person. On a more primitive level, extending both hands shows the other person that you can’t hide any weapons and there’s no hidden danger in your gesture.

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          Former First Lady, Michelle Obama shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth II. Mrs. Obama is using the two-handed shake method, which conveys warmth and trust. Michelle leans forward slightly to accommodate their height difference and show that she is committed to the gesture.

          Stand to the left to look more powerful

          So much of our body language comes down to our physical placement in a space. If you wish to look more powerful in front of a group of people or during a photo opportunity, stand to the left side.

          The person on the left will always be perceived as more dominant than the person on the right. When you stand to the left, it is easier for you take the upper hand in the handshake. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should assert that power, but the opportunity is there for you. The person on the left almost always looks like they’re in control of the gesture.

            This shot of Brad Pitt shaking hands with former Secretary of State John Kerry shows how easily the person on the left could assert too much control over then handshake. Pitt’s hand is in the dominant position, and if he wished to express his power, he could easily do so.

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              During this meeting between then-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush, former President of the United States, the governor is shown on the left even though the president outranks him. The body language of this handshake indicates mutual respect.

              Make your palm vertical if you want to make both of you equal

                Even though the handshake is a brief interaction, each person can pass a great deal of information to the other through it. It’s important to pay attention to the small details so that the other person can read your intent.

                For example, to ensure that the two-handed gesture conveys equality and respect for the other person, be sure that you keep both palms in a vertical position.

                When one person’s palm faces downward in a handshake, it means that the person has the upper hand and is taking control. The upward facing palm is submissive in this exchange. The person with the downward-facing hand can push the submissive hand down even more if the person is trying to assert dominance. When both palms remain vertical, it sends the message that you are both on equal ground.

                Change the pressure to accommodate the other person

                Be firm and assertive with the amount of pressure that you use, but avoid gripping too hard. If the other person’s grip seems weaker than yours, decrease how firmly you grasp that hand. When the opposite happens, increase your grip strength and pressure so that you are not perceived as weak.

                This doesn’t mean that you have to replace your strong handshake for a weak one, or vice versa, but if the grip strengths remain unequal, it can tell the other person a lot about you. Do your best to match the level of pressure that you receive.

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                A good handshake sets the stage

                This silent form of communication can tell another person a lot about your motives and intentions. Practicing good handshake etiquette can initiate positive relationships that live well beyond the few seconds in which the exchange takes place. An excellent handshake can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.

                Reference

                More by this author

                Brian Lee

                Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

                20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About
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                Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

                Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

                Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

                  If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

                  The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

                  Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

                  There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

                  Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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                  Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

                  Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

                  Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

                  • The idea for Google -Larry Page
                  • Alternating current generator -Tesla
                  • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
                  • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
                  • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

                  …and many, many more.

                  Fact #4: Premonition dreams

                  There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

                  You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

                  • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
                  • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
                  • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
                  • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

                  Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

                  Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

                  Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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                  Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

                  In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

                  Fact #7: Sexual dreams

                  The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

                  Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

                    Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

                    Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

                    • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
                    • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
                    • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

                    Fact #9: Dream drug

                    There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

                    Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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                      The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

                      Fact #11: Increased brain activity

                      You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

                      Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

                      As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

                      Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

                      In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

                      Fact #13: Pets dream too

                        Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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                        Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

                        Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

                        Fact #15: Blind people dream too

                        Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

                        Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

                          It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

                          Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

                          Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

                          Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

                          You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

                          Fact #19: Gender differences

                          Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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                          Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

                          As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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