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In today's technical world, handshakes are more important than ever

Carey Sue Vega, owner of Expeditions in Etiquette, discusses how to shake hands properly.
by Paula Burkes Published: June 13, 2013
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Q&A with Carey Sue Vega

Even in the digital age, a good handshake as important as ever

Q: A critical component of the first-impression in business is a good handshake. What is the history of the handshake?

A: The handshake dates back as early as 5 B.C. and originates from men demonstrating they come in “peace” and weren't planning to draw their weapons.

Q: Should women shake hands?

A: Now that we know the history of the handshake, we know that historically it would have been reserved for men. Fast forward to 2013 and for some women, they're still left to wonder “Should I or shouldn't I?” Yes, in the U.S., women should definitely feel confident shaking hands. With that being said, many women are never really taught how to shake hands. So let's break down the anatomy of the shake: your hand meets the other person's hand at the webbing of the thumb (or the duck's foot). A couple of pumps up and down for a few short seconds (we don't want to look like an Oklahoma oil derrick). And don't forget to make eye contact with the person with whom you're meeting and shaking hands.

Q: What else should people keep in mind when shaking hands?

A: If you're physically able, always stand to shake hands, or at least attempt to stand. “Bottoms up” — get your bottom up and out of the chair to shake. If you're behind your desk, do your best to come out from behind the desk, so nothing is in between you and the person you are meeting.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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