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Elements of a good handshake that make a positive impression:

  • Firm.
  • Dry.
  • Full contact, palm to palm.
  • When you extend your right hand, your palm faces left, thumb upward. Don't face your palm upward or downward.
  • If a person is not able to use the right hand, but is able to use the left hand, it is perfectly acceptable to shake left hands. Etiquette dictates kindness and adaptability over strict rules.
  • If a person is not able to shake hands, for any reason, substitute a polite nod as you exchange verbal greetings.
  • Gender neutral. People give and receive the same type of handshake regardless of gender.
  • A handshake is held for about two to three seconds.
  • Eye contact during the handshake.
  • Exchange a brief verbal introduction or greeting during handshake. You may share further introduction and greeting after releasing the handshake (to avoid an over-long handshake).
  • Smile (unless the handshake occurs during an expression of condolence or other situation in which a smile would not convey the appropriate message).
  • In a virtual meeting, you obviously cannot shake hands. So use good eye contact, a friendly smile, and attentive listening.