First professional/personal contact

Happy Etiquette Monday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and you practised and taught others on the 5 S’s of meeting people. In the post, I mentioned that I would post on a later date about handshakes. Today is the later date.

I believe that handshakes are crucial when meeting people. When I started researching about handshakes, I was not very confident on what to write and what to omit. However, I will include links where you can read more on handshakes. A handshake is a gesture that varies from culture to culture. My understanding and knowledge of how handshakes are meant to be, is biased on my surroundings and the people I have met in the business and social settings. In the past I mentioned the importance of handshakes and will keep on repeating even in future. A handshake is the first contact you have with someone you are meeting for the first time.


A handshake is a common and acceptable greeting in both business and social settings compared to hugs and kisses (soft pecks). I can confidently write that you are safe shaking someone’s hand when you meet them for the first time in most cultures rather than hugging them. The business insider’s link shows how to properly shake hands in 14 different countries…

From the numerous handshakes that I have experienced from people from different cultures I must say that some stand out and others feel forced. If you are being introduced to a prominent person, business associate, older person, and others who may fit in that category, shake their hands firmly. Do not squeeze the life out of that hand. Grasp the other person’s hand firmly. Firm enough to get their attention. Someone people take this too far and end up squeezing the person’s hand. In such instances, you may count that as being the last time that person will stretch their hand out to greet you. The firm grip also depends on the other person’s physique. The way you shake a petite person’s hand is not the same way you would shake a large person’s hand. In addition, do not offer a limp hand, especially if you want that person to remember your meet. Limp handshakes convey low self esteem or arrogance in some cultures. If you want to seem confident, shake the person’s hand firmly. Note to ladies: kindly stop the three finger handshake. If you don’t want to shake someone’s hand, just nod or smile genuinely or say “fine, thank you”. The three finger handshake displays rudeness.

Squeezing handshake – wrong
“3 finger” handshake – In a business setting this is wrong but if you are a lady and you are flirting with someone in a social setting it is okay
Firm handshake – perfect in most settings

When should you use double handshake when greeting someone? I have noticed my President (H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta), other world dignitaries and people close to me usually use the double handshake. From my research double handshakes are close to miniature hugs. Do not use the double handshake on a stranger. Some people view this type of handshake as an intrusion of their personal space. Double handshakes are only used towards people that you know well. It represents sincerity and strong bond. In addition the double handshake communicates dominance through intimacy. If you look at people who shake hands like that, the distance between their bodies is small. Kindly read more on this here:…/467729/most-powerful-handshake-world I would advice to avoid them when greeting strangers or people you are not familiar with. Sometimes you may use the double handshake to guide a person’s handshake especially the friends who have vigorous handshakes.

Double handshake

When should you shake someone’s hand? Shaking hands may seem as thoughtless and effortless. However, there is decorum behind it. There are situations that you are not meant to be the first person to stretch your hand when greeting someone. Usually, you are meant to let the person in authority stretch theirs first. If they don’t, then don’t stretch yours. It is not that they did not see you, or did not want to greet you, it could be a personal preference. Therefore, don’t take it to heart if they do not shake your hand. However, if you made a mistake of stretching yours first, don’t pull it back. Keep it stretched for a few seconds long and hopefully they will shake your hand. In some cultures, men are not meant to stretch their hands out to women for a handshake. Women are the ones who are meant to initiate the handshake. Next time you find yourself in a high-level meeting and want to great a lady dignitary and you are a man, do not stretch your hand first. Let her initiate the handshake.

How can you avoid sweaty palms? When in a gathering, always hold your drink in your left hand. Let your right hand be free. This helps in avoiding your hand being cold or wet. If you generally have sweaty palms, take time to wipe your hand on your trouser, skirt, short, or serviette/ napkin if you have one. As you do that, say “hello” as you make eye contact and smile. That will give you ample time to dry off your wet palm. Always practice holding your drinks in your left hand.

Handshakes are meant to be brief. Do not prolong them, unless (according to Business Insider) you are in United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Brazil. Most people judge you on your handshake. For example, during interviews some interviewers take note of the handshake. Some people don’t pay much attention to it. However, its best to be safe than sorry.

Therefore, practice and teach others on how and when to shake someone’s hand. I always shake most people’s hands firmly. The response I get from them is positive.

If you have any questions on this, kindly ask and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

#etiquettemonday #handshakes #firmhandshake #handshakesvarywithcultures #howdoesyourcultureshakehands #doesyourculturehaveanalternativetoshakinghands #sharewithus


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