Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Proper handshake technique and etiquette

The handshake is a time-honoured tradition that signifies everything from saying hello to calling a truce to sealing a deal. It implies trust, respect and equality. Here, JR Shaw School of Business instructor Keven McGhan (Finance '89) demonstrates how to get it right.

He also explained how we often get it wrong. Here are a few things to avoid.

Premature grab. Wait until the hands have come web to web – that skin between the thumb and forefinger – before you close your hand. "Otherwise, you end up crushing the fingers of the other person," says McGhan.

Too soft. This might occur when men and women shake hands. Generally, being gentle it is not taken as a sign of courtesy as may be intended, but as a lack of confidence.

Two hands. Enclosing someone's hand in both of yours shows familiarity that may be unwarranted and inappropriate. Avoid it, as it can seem insincere.

Infection. "If you're sick, you may politely decline a handshake, explaining that you don't want to spread your germs."