✏ The Firm Handshake

Attention, young adults…

Believe it or not, there was a time when you judged a person’s character simply by their handshake.

I distinctly remember that while growing up, my father would give me lessons on the proper way to shake someone’s hand. And not just the handshake itself; he would start with how to approach a person when doing so. You walked toward them, extending your hand with a welcoming posture, a smile on your face, and you began your initial comment even before you grip their hand.

He probably made me do it 20 times, and it makes me smile just thinking about it. 

We would practice that for years, little impromptu crash courses to make sure I never lost that skill. When I had the honor to work for him, there were countless times after a meeting when he would comment to me about the other person’s handshake. And, he would trust my opinion as well.

If it was firm and they held it for a few seconds while looking you in the directly in the eyes, he believed that was a person you could trust.

He said to be cautious of someone with sweaty palms, a weak grip and no eye contact; that they’re probably not to be trusted.

I cherish those times now that he is gone. My father was a man of his word; if he shook your hand and said he would do something, come hell or high water, you could count on it.

“A handshake is an email you send with your body.”
– Anthony Finucane

Today, we do business across continents without even so much as a handshake, but rather a screen-to-screen discussion where we are forced to gain as much business knowledge as possible, as well as character of the person on the other end, without any in-person interaction.

Sure, there are other signals that we can look for, but give me the choice between a phone call and a face-to-face meeting, and I will ALWAYS choose the latter.

There is something about the human connection that strengthens the character of leadership within us all.

You can never replace the personal greeting; the initial small talk which leads to future trust. The dialogue that, over time, earns you the right to negotiate, but more importantly, provides you the opportunity to sense verbal and non-verbal cues. To look a person in the eye, have disagreements, share in solutions and celebrate the success of an agreement.

And how do you solidify your agreement?

Through a handshake.

Meeting people face-to-face is critical to be successful.

Social media, emails, texts or even a WebEx should never be a replacement for the human connection. If there are costs associated with making one, that is price of doing business. If you want to distinguish yourself from your competitor, form a true, personal relationship with that client.

The easiest and most successful way to earn the trust of another person is to sit across a table from them and be yourself. Don’t fake it, be authentic. Don’t pretend to know everything, be humble. And most of all, listen more than you talk.


Humbled to lead,

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©2018 Victor Pisano/Charge Up. All rights reserved. You are free to use portions of this publication, provided the following credit is listed at the bottom: ©2018 Victor Pisano/Charge Up, is a media-based entity that provides intriguing, innovative and distinctive content, engaging its readers with real-world challenges and solutions while embracing obstacles and the value that failure can provide. While that sounds serious, we promise you will both learn AND laugh (and sometimes cry).Contact Charge Up at victor@chargeuptoday.com or visit our website at www.chargeuptoday.com.

Victor Pisano✏ The Firm Handshake


Join the conversation
  • jeff maxwell - October 22, 2018 reply

    Great piece, Vic! I believe that face-to-face interaction is a critical part of a person’s business acumen…

    Victor Pisano - October 22, 2018 reply

    Funny you use the words “business acumen”, I currently have a leader in my life who has spent the time and invested in my success, working hard to ensure he could contribute by adding additional tools to my boost my professionalism and skills! The benefits of having a mentor are priceless…

    Thank you, Jeff!

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