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Are you in touch?

Touching and being touched is healthy and relaxing. All human beings need it, but it is a touchy subject for many people. Touch stimulates feeling and demands a response. Two people shaking hands can be in touch on equal terms.

Do you shake hands on equal terms? You can analyze your handshake by using the information contained in this handout. The quality of touch can range from love to hate and both can be fairly hot! Less involving touches are much cooler, but still contribute to the sense of aliveness that being in touch gives us.

Do you keep in touch? It’s not the amount, but the quality and regularity of touching that has a positive effect on the nervous system. You may like to keep a record over a week or so, to see if you are keeping in touch. Some touches are pleasant and some are not. Keep track of the touches in your life for the next week or so. You may be surprised with the results. Include handshakes, hugs, and even the pets you stroke. It has been found that stroking pets reduces the chance of heart attack!

What does your handshake say?

Practice your handshake and ask for feedback from everyone you shake with. Is your handshake warm and friendly, cold and clammy, firm and business like? Perhaps you change the type of handshake you give when meeting with people on a personal basis vs. a professional one.
If you are a man do you shake hands differently with a women?
Shaking hands is a great ice breaker, particularly if you can comment on the type of handshake you have just received. Always make the comments positive, i.e. refer to a gentle touch vs. soft & floppy one, a firm grip vs. a bone crusher.
What does your handshake say?
Hopefully, that you are someone everyone wants to know!

What kind of message do you send?

Dominant Greetings

It is generally acceptable to touch the arm of an acquaintance but the person who is touching is taking a dominant position when touching accompanies a handshake.

Subtle Cultural differences

British and Americans have a friendly habit of holding your right arm to control your response. Indians would be deeply insulted by these left-handed touches. West Indians would most likely reciprocate with enthusiasm and the French would disarm you with a kiss on both cheeks!

What kind of handshake do you give?

Study the following kinds of handshake and discover what kind of handshake you give. You may need to make some adjustments to yours, unless you already shake hands on equal terms.

Equal terms - Both hands are vertical with thumbs together and the shake is firm but relaxed.

Taking control - Hands are turned so that the controlling hand is on the top of an open palm. Fine for lovers, but not so good in business.

The pull - Pulling a person closer may mean a lack of confidence or a need for closer contact.

Fingers only - Either given or taken, this is the shake of someone who holds back and doesn’t give themselves.

The cold fish - Floppy, cold or damp, this handshake is unmistakable and uninviting. Ask your friends to check if you do it unwittingly.

The clamping vice - Ouch! Is the usual response. Used by aggressive people who like to appear tough.

The protector - A double hand-clasp is warm between friends but implies a need to ingratiate from a stranger. Many politicians use this one.

Your handshake is important, but so is your smile! Make sure that you smile at the person you are shaking hands with. A happy face goes a long way with the right handshake. It just might get you in the door to that next very important deal. Eye contact is also an important part of that first meeting. Always look briefly into the eyes of the person you are shaking hands with. Eye contact in most nationalities is perceived as a sign of integrity or honesty. If you want to make sure your first contact is a positive and memorable one follow the SMILE & ASK formula.

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