Home Money & Career How to Give a Manly Handshake: Dos and Don’ts

How to Give a Manly Handshake: Dos and Don’ts

by Ryan Chambers
a manly firm handshake
A critical manly handshake

In your working life, you’ll be shaking lots of hands on a daily basis. The way you shake hands says a lot about who you are as a person. During that brief contact, people will form opinions about you—good or bad. 

Shaking hands seems to be an easy thing to do. However, many are unaware of the several etiquette rules people should follow frequently.

It has become a norm that handshaking must come into play within 10 seconds of meeting someone. But how many of us have mastered this skill, which can make or break a person’s first impression of us?

You want your handshake to say nice things about you, whether you’re shaking hands with a friend or meeting a potential client. You want to give a handshake that creates a lasting first impression, and that’s what we’ll be talking about in this post.


Here are the basics you need to ensure that you do to ensure a good manly handshake.

Do Make Eye Contact

2 men handshaking and looking into each others eyes
An employee receives a friendly and manly handshake

To pull off a proper manly handshake, you need to look the person in the eyes. Eye contact is almost as important as the handshake itself. If you look at the ground, you’re telling the person that you’re nervous, shy, and even untrustworthy—not a good first impression.

Making eye contact is very important as it shows the person that you’re fully engaged, that you’re interested in this meeting, and that you’re glad to see them. Making eye contact, however brief the handshake may be, is the proper way of greeting anyone.

Make sure your hands do not contain grease or food particles—you want the person to remember you, not what you ate on your lunch break. If you’re expecting to meet someone and your hands are greasy, go to the bathroom before the meeting and wash your hands.

Do Away With Sweaty Hands

This is the handshake in which you or the other person’s hands are cold and clammy. It can occur when you are nervous or anxious and your hands are sweating. If you have sweaty hands, give them a quick casual wipe on your pants, or you can wash and dry them before approaching people to shake their hands.

And, of course, good hand hygiene is always important. If detergent and water are unavailable, wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.

Do Extend Your Right Hand 

man reaching out to give a handshake
Friendly man reaching for a manly handshake

Yes, there are some people that, for whatever reason, can’t shake with their right hand. If this is the case, the onus is on them to make the correction. If you offer your right hand to someone that can’t use theirs, just make the adjustment – don’t be embarrassed and never apologize.

Do Use a Firm Grip 

Make sure your manly handshake is firm—this is the key element to a good handshake. There’s no need to prove your strength – a bone-crushing grip is seen as arrogant, but a weak grip says that you’re weak in character or that you’re not really interested in the person you’re meeting.

While average handshakes rarely stick in our minds, bad ones do. And you want to be remembered after a job interview, a networking event, or even a family gathering as the one with limp noodles for fingers or bone-crushing lobster claws for hands.

A manly handshake, however, shows that you’re confident, strong, and enthusiastic. It shows that you’re keen and fully committed to the person you’re meeting.

Do Speak in Conjunction With the Handshake

The person’s name is the most important thing to remember when shaking someone’s hand. Always call them by their name—don’t use substitutes such as “mate” or “dude”. People like to hear their own names. Using words such as “mate” suggests that you’re not really bothered about meeting this person.

Do Remind People of Your Name 

Remind them of your name when you shake someone’s hand. It’s important to remember that people want to remember your name as much as you want to remember theirs, but sometimes we forget.

If you’re meeting up with someone that you’ve already met, give them a little reminder as you shake their hand. Say something like, “Matt Smith. Nice to see you again, John.” This will make the person more relaxed and make the meeting more efficient.

Establishing a manly handshake should convey confidence and lay the groundwork for nonverbal communication. 

A manly handshake plays a significant role in professionalism and can shape the entire dynamic of a meeting, which, by extension, can shape the entire outcome of a meeting or negotiation.


Here are the things you should avoid or never try when you are aiming to achieve a proper manly handshake.

Don’t Hurry the Handshake 

Don’t be in a hurry; offer your hand with your fingers straight and your thumb pointing upwards. Don’t grip until the other person’s thumb is locked into position next to yours. Don’t be too hasty in letting go. Instead, go with the flow – some people prefer a longer handshake, but you should be ready to let go after two or three small handshakes. 

Indicate that you’re ready to let go by relaxing your hand muscles. Longer handshakes will make some people feel uncomfortable, especially women.

Don’t Shake Too Much

woman giving a handshake
Lady holds a firm manly handshake with a coworker

The worst handshake you can give is when you shake the person’s arm really hard as if you’re going to rip it off their body. Instead, think of it as a handgrip rather than a handshake. As stated above, two or three small handshakes are fine. Too much handshaking can be perceived as over-excitement and that you’re desperate – which is something you never want to portray as.

Don’t Alter Conversations.

Don’t Offer a handshake if the other person is in mid-conversation with someone else. This is a boundary you should keep.

Approach Someone From the Side With an Extended Hand.

It’s a bit difficult to see. Everyone would witness the rejection except the individual you were attempting to shake hands with. Do not feel humiliated. The issue isn’t that the other person doesn’t believe you’re significant; rather, your timing was incorrect. To avoid awkwardness, audibly greet them as you are about to shake their hand.

Don’t Start a Handshake From Your Wrist.

This is seen as a flaw, a weakness, and you being pushy.

Don’t Shake With Both Hands. 

Shaking with both hands should be done to someone you are familiar with. This is also related to touching the other person with your other hand while giving a manly shake unless you know the person well enough. Shaking a person you just met like this could be interpreted as an intrusion into their personal space.

Don’t Shake for So Long. 

A study concludes that a handshake is appropriate for about 2-5 seconds. Note that most people won’t mind shorter handshakes.

When To Do It

Knowing when to shake hands is also important to effectively use this gesture. Handshakes have long been the preferred greeting in various situations, especially when meeting someone for the first time.

Offering a handshake involves timing. Many men avoid offering handshakes because they’re afraid of being left hanging. If you think that someone may not see your offer, extend your hand anyway. In most cases, people will notice your offer and return the handshake. If they don’t, usually, it’s because your timing is off, not because that person thinks you’re unimportant.

Be aware of changing social standards. Most cultures have different rules about when and if they should shake hands. For example, in certain cultures, you should wait for a woman to offer her hand first before initiating a manly handshake. Also, shaking hands with a woman is never appropriate in other cultures. Be mindful of these and other cultural differences, particularly when traveling.

Where To Do It

Handshakes are a good way to introduce yourself. Use them everywhere, at social gatherings, at work – everywhere. Make sure you follow the tips above whenever you shake someone’s hand. A manly handshake will always make a good first impression.

A good handshake necessitates precise timing. When arriving at and leaving a party or social event, make sure to shake the host’s hand. Shake hands with anyone you’re meeting for the first time; friends, family, and acquaintances you don’t feel close enough to hug.

After the manly handshake, you should also try to hold up a conversation. Having the perfect handshake means nothing if you can’t talk to someone for more than 5 minutes.

In Summary

You can initiate a manly handshake in a neutral setting. However, if the other person is more recognizable than you are or if you’re visiting the office or territory of the person, you should wait for them to extend their hand.

It is best to use only one hand in business. Usually, you’re correct. Politicians only use the two-handed shake. Don’t “cup” or touch the shaking hand of the other person with your free hand, either. When you do it to people you don’t know well; it’s just awkward.

Now that you have knowledge of the dos and don’ts when giving a manly handshake, it’s time to put your knowledge to use. Try it out on a friend or family member first so that when the time comes, you’re prepared, confident, and able to make a good first impression.

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