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Shaking Hands May Be Rocket Science

Posted By Adrienne Barker, American Cancer Society, Saturday, May 27, 2017

Whether it’s through the firm shake of a hand or a long and proper salaam, there are plenty of ways to show respect and honor others. From the nerve-wracking interview room to a huge family get-together, the importance of showing respect is profound. For instance, let’s consider the simple gesture of standing up and firmly shaking hands with someone – why is the gesture significant?

For centuries the formal handshake has been used as a means to greet people with openness and friendship. Back then, a handshake was just as binding as a formal contract and be it business deals, marriages or peace declarations; a firm handshake was necessary everywhere. Nowadays the greeting is more important than ever. Take, for example, the words of a Future 500 CEO: when presented with two equally qualified and proficient job candidates, he picked the person with the better handshake.

From this simple gesture, people make decisions about our character and personality all the time!

Despite the countless benefits of such a small action, in our rapidly advancing age, few make the effort of adopting such courtesies. Busy with their social image, the youngsters of our generation do not even realize that texting a friend when their boss enters the room is a sign of immense disrespect and may very well make them lose the favor of their employer. A person who does not extend this courtesy is labeled as rude, unfriendly and unsuited for a task.

We’ve discussed the significance and the impact of this timeless greeting, and one question remains… how do we give the perfect handshake? Below are tips on the proper handshake etiquette in ten countries around the world:

1. United States: Introduce yourself with your name while giving a firm handshake, of usually two pumps.

2. Russia: Men usually kiss a woman’s hand; shaking hands with the opposite sex is only appropriate in a business situation.

3. China: Age is of great importance’ remember to greet the oldest person first and grip lightly with a slight bow. No direct eye contact is made.

4. Brazil: Firm, long lasting handshake that lasts long. Repeat when leaving.

5. United Kingdom: Light handshake. It’s inappropriate to stand or speak to close to the person after the gesture.

6. France: A quick, light handshake.

7. Turkey: Handshakes are long. Gripping firmly is considered rude in Turkey.

8. Morocco: Shake hands gently and only if you’re the same gender.

9. Norway: It’s important to shake hands with everyone present! Each person should be called by their first and last name during the gesture.

10. Thailand: Do not shake hands. In Thailand, the custom is to place both hands at chest level and bow. Repeat the gesture when a person does it to you.

Irrespective of style, handshakes share the same united purpose – to respect their receivers and show them that they are valued and admired. With this simple gesture, a person can win over hearts all around the globe


Adrienne teaches business etiquette, dining skills, networking and customer service skills.

Contact Adrienne at 407-744-5355   Visit


Tags:  business  etiquette  handshaking 

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