A Healthy Handshake

Sep 24 2014

by Erika Preval


It’s said that you should never judge a book by its cover. Considering that first impressions are made within 7 seconds of meeting someone, we’ll have to assume that judgment is being dished out rather often. Parents typically seek me out because of things that are going on around the table with their children, however I begin each series of Charm events with the seven essential ingredients to make a great first impression. One of those ingredients: a proper handshake. I’ve felt quite a few handshake maladies from adults, as of late. So, I thought I’d share a few of the symptoms to look out for, as well as the common cure.

Diagnosis: Floppy Fish

Symptoms: Most often dished out by ladies, the limp posturing of the hand causes this form of handshake to feel more like grasping a dead fish than the hand of a person possessing confidence.

Diagnosis: Bone Crusher

Symptoms: A crunched knuckle handshake most often given by men, this action might elicit a look of discomfort on the face of its recipient, but always leaves an impression of aggression.

Diagnosis: The Glove (A.K.A. The Politician’s Handshake)

Symptoms: A sign of closeness, the recipient’s right hand or shoulder is cupped by the left hand of the opposite person during the handshake; a gesture reserved for a personal setting – never for business.

Treatment: A Proper Handshake

Dosage: Extending your right hand (thumb pointing up), connect the web between your index finger and thumb firmly with that of the other person’s hand. Shake, with an up and down motion, three to four times (elbow close to your body) and release. Repeat as necessary.

Do you have a healthy handshake? The best way to find out is by practicing with someone who will give an honest opinion. In this case, practice really does makes perfect, and will lead to great first impressions when interacting with people – beyond those seven seconds.

Be well,


Erika Preval is a certified etiquette consultant and founder of both simply put, a blog that simplifies the intricacies of manners for adults as well as Charm Etiquette, the premiere source for boutique events in social and leadership skills for modern youth. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Erika Preval View More Blog Posts from this Author

Erika Preval is a Certified Etiquette Consultant in Atlanta, Georgia and contributing writer for The Southern Coterie and Southern Living. Through her company, Charm Etiquette, she conduct experiential events that ensure leadership and social skills in youth and young adults, as well as adult-only events known as Social Studies: Finishing School for Adults. With Charm, she's put a modern spin on manners that makes each event both fun and relevant for guests.

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