San Franciscans Kevin Whittaker and Cory Jens recently set a new handshaking world record of 9.5 hours, beating the previous record set by two Germans by a half hour.
The two practiced shaking hands, and developed a couple of techniques - "one involves putting both your pinkies out, which allows an opening where air gets in and cools you off. The other is that one of us shakes and does all the work, while the other one relaxes," said Whittaker.
Thankfully for Whittaker and Jens, the Guinness Book of World Records only requires the record-setters to keep their hands moving up and down the whole time. In business, the art of handshaking is much more involved.
You need to convey confidence, warmth and honesty while shaking hands with your prospect, says SalesDog.com publisher Michael Dalton Johnson. While you may not break any world records with your handshake, when properly executed, you will create a good impression. Here are a few of Johnson's tips for a winning handshake:
• Avoid the power grip. A handshake should be firm, but not overly forceful. Beware of the unconscious tendency to pull the other person toward you as you shake. This can be interpreted as aggressive, and the prospect's resistance to you will go up a notch or two.
• Look 'em in the eye. As you extend your hand, establish eye contact and smile. Show some teeth! A warm and sincere greeting can make you an instant friend - and all things being equal, people prefer to buy from friends.
• Get a grip. Never grasp the other person's fingers. Take their entire hand completely in yours, and gently pump it two or three times.
• What to say? No handshake is complete without a spoken greeting. You can't go wrong with, "It's a pleasure to meet you." When meeting someone of high rank, such as the chairman of the board or founder of a company, you may want to up the ante with, "It's a great pleasure to meet you." After the initial greeting, your conversation should begin while you are still shaking hands, for example, "John tells me you've made some significant additions to your product line." Your hand should be slowly and somewhat reluctantly withdrawn as the person begins to speak. This slow withdrawal indicates your keen interest in the person and what he is saying.
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