Skip to main content

How to Practice Proper Handshake Etiquette

Handshakes are an important part of the culture. Instead of getting a reputation based on a poor or improper handshake, learn the etiquette and do it right.


  • Step 1: Take cues from the other person about when to let go. Some people prefer short, 2-pump handshakes, and others will shake hands for 5 or more.
  • Step 2: Allow a woman to extend her hand to you if you're a man -- don't initiate a handshake. While less of a hard-and-fast rule today, this is historically proper. A handshake says a lot about a person, so be sure you get it right.
  • FACT: Studies have found that a firm handshake correlates with personality traits, such as openness and extroversion.
  • TIP: Don't limply grasp the person's hand. And remember, this isn't a tough-guy contest. Don't try to break any bones, either.
  • Step 3: Close your fingers around the other person's hand and give a firm squeeze, shaking your hand up and down. Avoid touching the person with your left hand or pulling them closer to you, and repeat the person's name while you're shaking.
  • TIP: It's okay to lean in a little, but not so much that you're invading someone's space.
  • Step 4: Maintain eye contact with the person whose hand you're shaking. Don't look down at their hand or over their shoulder, and remember to smile at the person without seeming overeager.
  • Step 5: Keep your hand open to make sure you share a handshake and not a finger shake or palm shake. Press the lowest joint of your thumb into the lowest joint of their thumb.
  • Step 6: Stand up if you're sitting. Extend your right hand in front of your body with your elbow slightly bent and your thumb pointed upward.

Popular Categories