How to Shake Someone’s Hand

Shaking hands in an office
“Can you let go now, please? It’s been two hours!”

Dating back to antiquity (it’s first documented in fifth century BC Greece), the handsake – also called dexiosis – is a globally recognised greeting/parting custom.

You know the drill. You’re meeting someone you don’t really know that well, usually in a more formal situation, so instead of going, “Yeah, whatever mate!” you shake hands. It’s polite, you know?

But how do you get it right? Here’s our expert guide, from the Professional Moron team with a combined total of 143 years’ shaky experience.

Hand Shaking

By which we don’t mean “jazz hands”. That’s a different thing entirely.

No, the handshake is your way into a variety of situations – usually business-related. So, it’s important to get it right.

From our experience, the other person usually approaches us with arm outstretched. Do not panic and flee upon sight of this – so long as they’re not wielding an axe, you should be perfectly safe.

Based on many international traditions, it means you must shake their hand. For now, forgo concerns about cleanliness and just hope they’ve not had a dump recently and not bothered washing their hands.

Thrust your arm towards their arm and accompany this with a verbal greeting. “Sup, fuckwod?” is a good example. Especially in job interviews (they’ll appreciate your maverick personality).

Aim it properly and you’ll connect with their hand. Fail and you could accidentally punch them in the groin, so it’s important to get this bit right.

Practice at home with a door knob to perfect your precision.

Out in the real world, once you’re holding the other person’s hand it’s time to ambulate with an up and down movement.

Do not shake the other hand too vigorously. If the person begins screaming in agony, or their hand starts to dislodge from their body (replete with blood spurting everywhere), then that is not hand shaking. It is grievous bodily harm.

But this point is important, so we shall begin a new section to highlight it. Because… how much is too much handshake?

Types of Handshaking

Hand shaking is common during job interviews or business deals. It’s important to have the right formal etiquette nailed down.

Do not, for example, approach a potential client and embrace them in a passionate hug and/or kiss. That’s just wrong.

But it’s important to get your type of hand shaking correct. So, here’s a rundown of the types of shake you can go for:

  • Timid: Flop your hand into the other person’s and let them lead the way.
  • Vigorous: Grab the other arm and shake with much gusto to show off your enthusiasm. Even if you end up with a hernia, everyone will love you for it.
  • Firm but scary: Grip with serious malice and shake violently. This shows you mean business, which is useful if you’re in a business meeting.
  • Bone cruncher: Aim to shatter as many of the fingers as possible, including the pinky.
  • Twist and shout: Grab the hand and shimmy on the spot until someone calls the cops to have you arrested.

Remember, whilst handshaking it’s also important to limit certain unattractive behaviour to ensure you maintain a positive image with your handshaker peer.

Antics to avoid include: dribbling, vomiting, sneezing, picking your nose with your free hand, asking them to pick your nose with their free hand, and spouting fascist dogma.

Handshaking Innovation

Despite the blurry quality of the above ancient text, we like the approach to the handshake here.

As we believe it’s time to shake up this genre of greeting. Below are a few of our suggestions you may wish to implement in your business:

  • Chainsaw Handshake: Before shaking hands with someone, you must both rev a chainsaw and then figure out how to shake hands without decapitating each other. This is just to shake up the tedious formality of business handshakes. It shows you have great initiative if you can avoid beheading your future line manager.
  • The Guttural Roar: Your business policy will require primal roars and bellows whenever handshakes doth occur. For example, “Hello, Kevin, welcome to your first day at wooooRRRARRRGHHHHHH!!!!” Now that’s a proper welcome!
  • Cheeses: This form of handshake requires you to glue a block of pungent cheese to your hand, thusly spreading cheese smell wherever you go. No real purpose to this one. Unless you sell cheeses and want to give a good impression of your products.
  • Celery Handshake: Instead of shaking someone’s hand, stick a bag of organic celery in. Despite their confused look, they’ll soon learnedly nod and realise you’re promoting better health for them. Either that or you’re just insane.
  • Earshake: Much more intimate, this type requires two people to jam their heads together and rub their ears back and forth. Perfect for breaking the first day nerves on starting a new job!

And that’s it. Now… go forth into the street and shake anyone’s hand you doth see!


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