“Let your handshake be a greater bond than any written contract.” ― Steve Maraboli

I won’t say that I ever made a decision solely on a person’s handshake, but I will say the handshake is always a big part of my first impression of that person.

Good handshakes convey warmth and strength. They’re firm but never overpowering, conveying confidence and truthfulness. I trust a good handshake, and at the close of the meeting I feel comfortable with my partner, never pulled off-balance.

Over the years, when our company, McIntyreSales, had potential Clients or Customers visit, the first item on the agenda was a tour of our facility. These tours provided an opportunity to showcase our capacities plus our co-workers. The route was the same and the stops along the way carefully planned.

Making our way through the building, we were sure to stop for introductions to co-workers. They would stand, move away from their desks, smile, make eye-contact, and each would extend their hand in friendship. I knew the handshake would meet the test – after all, that too had been carefully rehearsed.

Each associate spoke of how their duties would benefit the Client or Customer, along with how much they respected the value of the potential partner’s products and services. These short exchanges were designed to expand our story and have the Clients or Customers ready to finalize an agreement soon after beginning formal discussions at the conference table.

The limp or weak handshake, aka “the dead fish” is a lousy first impression and probably killed more deals than any bad balance sheet.

It was the handshake’s job to reinforce the feelings of competence, warmth, strength and connection between our new partner and everyone at McIntyreSales. We weren’t 100% successful with every potential Client, but we won far more than we lost, and we made a good impression – always.

The behavioral scientist, Steve Maraboli, is right. The handshake can be, “a greater bond than any written contract.”

What has been your experience with handshakes? What makes a good handshake, or a bad one?

How do you rate your own handshake and why? Or maybe you have never given it much thought.

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran


Watch the 10 worst handshakes. I’ve experienced my share of Wrestlers, Phantoms, Dead Fish, and Vice Grips but the worst, by far, is the Lobster Claw. Tell me which “worst handshake” tops your list.