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Author of "The Yes Factor"
Kevin Hogan : Author of
"The Psychology of Persuasion"
Gary May: Founder of "The
Association of Sales Professionals"
Gestures Reinforce Your MessageYour Eyes Show Emotion!Negotiate In Your Favor!How Your Body Language
Dave Lakhani Author of
"Persuasion – The Art
of Getting What You Want"
Can Convey Trust
Keys to a Great First Impression!The Secret Language of Business
Mark Victor Hansen,
founder and co-creator of
"Chicken Soup for the Soul"
is Nonverbal CommunicationPast and Future Based QuestioningEffectively Communicating Your
Point of View
Gestures in Business: Cultural Differences? A Great Impression - It's all in
Author of "Simpleology"
your hand (shake)!How to Spot a Liar!Persuade Others by Simply
Using Your Head!
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"Eliot, Terrific presentation! Thank you for making me realize how to give and accept a proper handshake. Looking eagerly forward to more from you!"
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"I loved the information on how to counteract someone who is trying to pull a 'power play' while shaking hands. Thanks – great info!"
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Can you imagine the number of hands that you have shaken throughout your lifetime?
In North America and many other countries, you can't run away from the handshake. It is an important gesture of our business and social culture.
A Great Impression - It's all in your hand (shake)!
Unfortunately, throughout the years, you will have experienced many different versions of the handshake which may not have left a positive impression on you.
Let's see, you may have experienced the "I am dominant" handshake or the "melting ice box" and the "bone crusher" to only name a few less than perfect ones.
Centuries ago, the handshake between two parties entering into a meeting was to ensure that no weapons were hidden in the sleeves. This can be traced back to the Roman era. The handshake itself consisted of grabbing the wrist of the other person and gesturing a "sawing" motion, back and forth. It conveyed "friend not foe".
Today however, the handshake has evolved into a simple hand grip with an accompanied up and down pumping motion.
In North America, three to seven pumps is acceptable. It's closer to three if you are meeting someone for the first time; closer to seven pumps if the relationship is solid.
Many times, the handshake can be followed by additional gestures as well.
It isn't uncommon to observe two men shaking hands, then lean into each other's intimate space so that both right shoulders are touching. While displaying a "half hug", they apply multiple pats to each other's back.
In many European countries, a handshake is followed up by a kiss on one or both cheeks.
Since the handshake is the first physical contact that we have with someone, it can reveal telling signs about that person and how they feel.
To gain the upper hand, let's interpret a few handshakes and strategies to overcome them right now.
The "I am Dominant" Hand Shake: When someone wants to display signs of power or authority, they will shake your hand with their hand turned slightly palm down forcing your hand to angle palm up. This is a gesture of dominance and your palm up will gesture submissiveness. You don't want to enter the meeting without correcting this if your intent is to meet as "equals".
A simple way to overcome the dominant individual, when shaking hands, is to take a very small step to the left upon receiving a dominant gripped handshake. As you do this, you will turn your hand slightly to the left to move the hands into a vertical position which demonstrates "equal power". By moving slightly to your left, the tendency to straighten the hand will feel quite natural to the dominant person as they move towards their right.
The "Melting Ice Box" commonly known as the Cold and Clammy Hand Shake: The person who displays a wet and clammy handshake will be perceived as insecure, unprepared, anxious, nervous or unsure. If your customer displays these symptoms, then they will need to become comfortable with you quickly. Spend a lot more time in the beginning establishing rapport. Don't rush or be perceived as "pushy" by your customer. Take your time and be genuine in your approach with this person.
If you suffer from clammy hands, place a paper towel in your right pant pocket or in your purse. Pick somewhere discreet and accessible so that you can casually dry them off.
If you suffer from cold hands and require a long term heat source, activate a packet of instant heat such as "hot shots", commonly found in sporting goods stores. These pellets remain active and generate heat for several hours.
Alternately, running your hands under warm water or use the hot air dryers within the restroom will also effectively bring up the temperature of your hands as well.
Remember to always hold a cold drink in your left hand at any social event where you are required to shake hands with others. You could project a false impression by having your hand cold and clammy from the ice cold drink you just held in your right hand prior to shaking.
The "Bone Crusher": Once in a while, we encounter a person with a handshake that feels like it will squeeze the living life out of you. This person generally will have issues of insecurity and lack of personal confidence.
If you encounter this type of handshake, here are two quick strategies which will help you out:
Exclaim something out loud such as "WOW, what a tight grip you have! You must be able crack walnuts with those fingers". Simultaneously, reach with your left hand and place it on their right hand and apply a slight amount of even pressure. The other person will almost always loosen the death grip immediately. As the grip loosens, begin to turn your hand into a dominant position ever so slightly before they pull their hand away.
By making a comment out loud about their handshake, it is unlikely that they will repeat the "bone crusher" with you again (especially if others are within ear shot).
Finally, you should always consider matching the pressure of the other person's grip while shaking hands. If you rank your handshake grip a six and your customer has a grip ranking of five, loosen your grip slightly. The reverse applies as well within reason (unless you meet "bone crusher").
Shaking hands is such a "given" that not too many people pay any attention to it at all.
So, to gain the upper hand, begin to pay a little extra attention to the handshake the next time you meet someone.
You will effectively convey, and receive, very important information that many others will simply overlook, including being alert to specifics about your audience, such as do they want to attend or not, are they feeling anxious or excited and are they confident or nervous.
Until next time,
Great selling everyone,
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"I learned more about non-verbal communication in dealing with business than ever before. The information is extremely valuable. I will be able to use this information today to strengthen my business and personal relationships. Eliot is an extremely experienced communicator and we can all benefit from his information."
"I liked him instantly! Very smooth & comfortable to listen to. Great ability to connect with the audience. Was able to get the audience involved effortlessly. Both funny and educational. Great demonstrations of what he was teaching. Look forward to hearing more from him!"
"Fantastic seminar!! Eliot is an excellent and sincere speaker on the value of personal interaction. His demonstration of proper touch and handshake has been invaluable. Take advantage of the opportunity to attend an Eliot seminar on body language, you won't be disappointed."
"Eliot has helped me bridge my unconscious behavior with my actions to establish my true feelings. Thank you for the invaluable information."
"Eliot demonstrated real life subtleties of body language. This information will have a sure-fire effect on anybody who communicates for a living. Better communication means more $ for you and your customers. THANK YOU for the insights."
"Your presentation was absolutely wonderful! You were able to create a lot of interest in a subject that I've never had interest in. I'm curious to see your next one."
"I loved Eliot because I found his information on dominance in body language to be particularly valuable. I will definitely put this new knowledge to good use in my business and personal life."
"I thought I knew everything about body language, but you taught me more in the time you spoke than in many of the years I've studied the art of body language. You are an incredible, impressive and authentic speaker."
"Wow!!! Eliot taught me something that is absolutely part of every sales meeting I've ever been on or ever go to... Truly outstanding!"
"One of the greatest body language trainers I have encountered. Simply brilliant!"
"Wow, I was very impressed with Eliot's presentation and level of knowledge. He showed me things that I can use now. Great speaker."
"From hand shake to mind shake, Eliot delivers smooth, easy to learn and valuable information."
"Eliot's demonstration of the various unconscious signals a simple handshake is conveying really hit home. Great value!"
"The insights I learned from Eliot about the power plays of something as simple as a handshake was very insightful and I will never look at a handshake the same again and I am sure his technique that he taught me will give me an advantage in all situations – business or social. Thank you Eliot."
"Eliot was informative and entertaining. I was engaged every step of the way. A hand shake will never be a hand shake again!"
"Eliot's powerfully pragmatic demonstration of non-verbal communication will add directly to my bottom line in 2008. The edge I was looking for in my negotiation tool kit."
"Eliot had fascinating, new information on non-verbal communication that even I didn't know (and I know quite a bit about body language). Based on solid knowledge of NLP and proxemics, his principles are useful for any serious business audience. Highly recommended."
"It was interesting to learn and understand body language both spoken and unspoken. Shaking hands with another person will never be the same. It was a very pleasant experience to hear you speak."
"Eliot was an engaging and knowledgeable speaker. I learned a few things that I can apply immediately to my own work."
"Eliot is one of the most knowledgeable as well as likeable presenters I have had the pleasure of seeing. His information on the handshake/power play can instantly help you gain confidence when meeting new people."
"Eliot is an amazing speaker. He can really empower sales teams. I am confident that he can help me to achieve more."
"Eliot has a great handle on sales. His focus is on the really important stuff. The interpersonal relationships people have with their prospects. Really enjoyed his presentation to us."
"After decades of sales trainings and success in sales, I still didn't really know what goes on in a sale until I heard Eliot speak. At last, a true sales Master! And for once I not only stayed awake for the whole talk, but I couldn’t wait to hear more. Thank you Eliot for waking me up to a whole new sales world and even more success!"