The Perfect Handshake: A Few Tips To Shake Hands Like A Gentleman

A good firm handshake connotes confidence and capability
A good firm handshake connotes confidence and capability

A handshake is something men respect in other men, and a good one can go a long way in a business or personal setting. Here’s five tips (one for every finger) that combine to make the perfect meet and greet.

Always shake with the right

Even two lefties go for a right-handed shake. Since most of the world is right-handed, you should always put your right hand forward to avoid awkwardness.


It’s important to have a solid grasp. No need for a vice grip, but no wet fish either. Get a solid clasp and sustain it through the shake. Solid eye contact should be maintained as well. Usually the eye contact comes in just before the hands actually meet, and remains until just after they part— but this will come naturally.

Keep it quick

The modern handshake is quick. Two pumps is almost always more than enough. In a first-meeting or just-parting situation, a quick firm clasp with one full or even half pump is enough. In a sustained shake, or conversation across the shake, maintain light up-and-down motion throughout.

Set the mood, slick

Overall solidity is more important than really pumping on your partner’s hand. You want to come off confident and strong in your convictions, not door-to-door salesman desperate.


Parting hands should be quick and clean. Just let go, don’t pull your hand away so much as release it. This can often be the most complex part of your shake.

Handshake fun fact: Though stele from Ancient Greece show men shaking hands, it is commonly believed the handshake developed from a Roman custom of male greeting in which the partner’s forearm was grasped. Like the modern handshake, this was a gesture of trust and goodwill, it showed you have no weapons up your sleeve.

Zach Buck

Zach Buck is a writer and editor currently living in South Korea. He serves as the official editor of Spatial Studies magazine HEADREST. In 2016 he released experimental digital archive game house.xct_ with Other Families, and it can be read about on

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