There is no doubt that Steven Schussler is correct when he states, “It’s essential to always remember that the critical first impression can often be what seals the deal” (117). In his book, It’s a Jungle in There, he describes three critical pieces of the first impression, the entrepreneur’s physical appearance, the handshake, and body language. Given that we are all unique individuals, being on our best behavior looks different on everyone. Most of what Schussler recommends to impress, while certainly good advice, is subjective at best. These three factors will likely change with the times, depend on the age and sex of the entrepreneur, and the situation that conspires to bring the two parties together.
In particular, I am curious to know how important “the handshake” is with a female entrepreneur?
In Todd Smith’s article, Handshakes Really Do Matter, he covers a few things about the handshake that Schussler neglects. Primarily, how does the dynamic of the handshake change with a combination of sexes? In essence, he covers modern day handshake etiquette.
Here are a few interesting tidbits of Handshake Q & A:
Q:If you are male and you meet a female, who should extend their hand first?
A: If you are male and you are meeting a female, you should wait for her to extend her hand first.
That means, ladies, if you are meeting a male, you should extend your hand first. Smith believes, “Even though women are a significant part of the business world, men are still confused about proper behavior.” By extending your hand first you will put the man at ease and use your handshake extension as a sign of confidence in business.
Q: If you are male and meeting another male, who should extend his hand first?
A: Guys, when meeting another male, you should always extend your hand first as a sign of confidence. If you are lucky, you will meet the other guy’s handshake in mid-extension and there will be no competition for the handshake initiation rights.
Q: If you are a female and you are meeting anther female, who should extend her hand first?
A: This answer is not much different than a male meeting a male. Extend your hand first as a sign of confidence.
And finally, there is the ever awkward feeling of being left hanging. If, by chance, you have extended your hand for a shake and the other party has left your hand waiting in the ether, what do you do?
Q: Should you retract your hand or hold your hand there until they accept it?
A: The terribly uncomforatable answer is to hold it there until they grasp it. Smith states that “Removing your hand conveys a lack of confidence.”
If you are curious to witness some other discomforting handshake situations watch the video below.
And, if you need a good refresher on what makes a good handshake, watch Robert Phipps handshake video. Phipps is the author of Body Language: What You Don’t Say That Matters.