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Last Updated on August 14, 2017

How to Deliver a Handshake That Makes People Remember You

How to Deliver a Handshake That Makes People Remember You

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.

                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

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                Brian Lee

                Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                Published on July 13, 2018

                Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

                Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

                What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

                By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

                When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

                In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

                Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

                What is attachment theory?

                Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

                The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

                His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

                The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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                When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

                Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

                How attachment develops

                Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

                Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

                The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

                It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

                In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

                Different types of attachments

                In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

                • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
                • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
                • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
                • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

                What attachments mean to adults

                So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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                As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

                • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
                • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
                • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
                • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

                Here’s where it gets really interesting:

                Move towards secure attachment

                The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

                Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

                The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

                If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

                The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

                Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

                How to restructure your thoughts

                Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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                For the Avoidant Style

                As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

                Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

                Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

                Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

                Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

                If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

                Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

                And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

                For the Anxious Style

                For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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                First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

                Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

                For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

                The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

                Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

                When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

                For the Secure Style

                Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

                Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

                Strive towards Secure Attachment

                As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

                • Positive self esteem and self image
                • Close and well adjusted relationships
                • Sense of security in self and the world
                • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
                • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
                • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
                • Trust in self and others
                • Close, intimate relationships
                • Strong determination and problem solving skills

                If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

                It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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