I remember when, for 20 years, I helped seventh and eighth grade students and their parents apply to secondary (aka high) schools. Part of that responsibility was spending time guiding students on executing what I thought was the perfect handshake . . . firm, not too firm; make eye contact; and present your best smile. I felt that this first-impression presentation was important when meeting admissions representatives from various independent, public, and parochial schools.
Fast forward a few years when I found myself listening to author and psychologist JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. speak to a group of parents and educators. She talked about a survey that was done on how college admissions officers could tell immediately from a handshake the students they wanted in their school. Deak then asked those assembled, “So, on a scale of one to ten—one being a limp-wrist handshake and ten being a ‘bone cruncher’ handshake—what handshake was the most impressive?” Audience guesses were anywhere from a four to a nine.
To everyone’s amazement, she said, “Nope. None of your predictions are correct.” She then went on to say that the most convincing handshake was a student who matched the admission officer’s handshake. The raised eyebrows and smiles on everyone’s face were acknowledgement that this really made sense. It certainly did for me.
I now tell everyone this story and practice the matching handshake technique every time I shake someone’s hand. It makes perfect handshaking sense.