Turn Your Hands Up!


TURN YOUR HANDS UP (Article Originally Printed 11/16/2022)


Greetings fellow tribesmen and women! This is going to sound, well kind of weird, but for years, I have studied handshakes. During a sales seminar many, many (did I say many?) years ago, we even had an entire morning’s worth of training on handshakes and mirroring other’s handshakes. The thought behind this was that if you mirror someone’s handshake, it was more welcoming and created a better first impression. Boy did I learn handshakes. There are the ‘knuckle breakers’, the ‘look at me firm’ handshakes all the way down to what our seminar leader called the ‘dead fish.’ Some also only give their fingers. I respect that handshake more and more as I get older. Arthritis is no joke!

Over the years I have learned to take a different approach when meeting people and shaking hands. That is the ‘palms up’ approach. By doing this I am literally giving the person I am meeting the upper hand in our greeting. When people see this very subliminal act of humility, it tends to break the ice a bit more (a heck of a lot more than the ‘dead fish’). I have zero issue with beginning a conversation by giving someone the ‘upper hand.’ I prefer it. It helps me learn more about them and people tend to be more open when they feel they have the upper hand.

What does your handshake say about you? I know our new Covid world has many not shaking hands these days. Greetings have taken on some new introductions in the past few years. It could be something as simple as a fist bump, an elbow touch or as I’ve seen happen quite often, ‘the nod.’ Me? I am old school. I love to shake hands. After all, I’ve been trained in it! Greeting people genuinely and respectfully has a special place in the tribe. I always talk about believability. Haven’t you found being pulled into more intently by those people whose smiles you believe? Or the people who say, “good morning” and mean it? For my money, a handshake falls into the same category. To be a strong member of the tribe, turn your hand up, say good morning and mean it and let the other person have the upper hand! In our tribe of up, the believability quotient must be high. Believability is different than trust. Trust can be rooted in facts or actions. Believability is a feeling people give off. It is innate. What kind of believability are you giving off to those you meet? Sometimes, it all starts with a simple handshake.

Steve Gwisdalla owns BetterPlace Consulting in Dexter, MI. He specializes in career and personal coaching and small business consulting. Have an “up” topic to discuss with the tribe? Send him a message at steve@betterplacemgmt.com

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