For decades, business professionals have claimed to be able to tell a lot about a person from the way he or she shakes hands. Part of this is due to the situation normally surrounding this gesture. A handshake normally takes place when you're first meeting someone who is, in many cases, a professional such as a potential employer. During this first encounter, hiring managers might make conjectures about your personality simply by paying attention to things like eye contact, the tone of your voice and your overall appearance. Therefore, it is no surprise that a handshake can be a pivotal part of this initial meeting. What does your handshake say about you? Here is a basic guide to handshake etiquette:

Go with age-old advice
The classic advice for an American handshake is still the norm. Extend your right hand, grasp the other person's hand firmly, shake two or three times, and release. This may seem simple, but people struggle to correctly perform the age-old handshake all the time. Part of the reason for this might be due to a lack of practice or external factors such as stress, anxiety or frustration. There are a number of bad handshake forms that have developed monikers over time. Some of them include:

  • The dead fish: This handshake demonstrates indifference or reservation. The dead fish is characterized by a limp and loose grasp. People who shake hands this way generally don't offer the firm grip expected in professional settings.
  • The bone crusher: On the opposite end of the spectrum is the bone crusher. Some people are prone to perform overly tight handshakes in which they squeeze the other person's hand. Using this shake is often a tactic of intimidation.
  • The politician: Has a new acquaintance ever shaken your hand by clasping your hand in both of theirs or placing a hand on your arm? This is the politician, a handshake that can convey false sincerity. 

Be aware of your posture 
Remember that a good handshake is accompanied by proper posture and clear eye contact. The handshake is social gesture meant to mutually symbolize respect and professionalism. Standing indifferently and offering an employer a dead fish handshake might cause them to believe you don't take the job seriously. A jittery disposition accompanied by sweaty palms, on the other hand, might convey nervousness. Handshakes should always be given standing up, so stand when first meeting someone. Remember not to slouch or leave your other hand in your pocket.