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Let's shake on it: Creating a great first impression as an advisor

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What type of first impression are you projecting with your handshake style? An individual’s handshake style conveys many important nonverbal messages. Here are examples of the most common handshake styles.

Traditional: The palm is slightly tilted back to show openness and receptivity. The grip pressure is firm with a palm-to-palm / web-to-web grip. Match the same grip pressure as you are receiving. This is the ideal handshake style to build rapport.

Controller or Dominator (palm-over-palm): This handshake is aggressive and intimidating with a palm-over-palm, dominating grip style. If you are on the receiving end, the best way to counteract it is by moving your body slightly to your right, to automatically reposition your palm into the neutral position without having to physically overpower the other person.

Vice grip: The grip pressure is excessive and very painful. This handshake is a show of power and lacks sensitivity. Typically, large men often underestimate their grip pressure strength and as a result, clamp down really hard.

Politician: This is like a traditional grip, but with the left hand covering the person’s right hand. The left hand may also move up the arm and touch the forearm, bicep or shoulder. This handshake style is very informal. When salespeople use this informal handshake style, they are typically viewed as insincere, artificial, or phony.

Dead fish: The grip pressure is zero, the fingers are limp, and the palm is damp. This submissive handshake style projects low self-esteem and can be extremely unpleasant for the person who’s on the receiving end.

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John Boe is a motivational trainer, speaker and internationally recognized authority on customer service, leadership, body language and temperament styles. For more information, go to


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