by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

Whether you realize it or not, a good handshake is the first impression you make in meeting someone. And when you don’t shake hands correctly, you send a message that you’re lacking social confidence. More women than you would guess don’t know how to shake hands appropriately. It’s a simple thing that can make a world of difference.

If you avoid the five approaches below, you’ll win points with every introduction.

5 Ways to Lose Points While Shaking Hands

1. The weak, “ladylike” handshake.

This is my personal pet peeve; I think of it, not as ladylike, but as a “dead hand.” Maybe she was taught by her Great Aunt Mildred that a serious handshake is not ladylike, but the limp handshake sends a strong message that she lacks self-confidence. This is a simple thing to correct and the ROI is off the charts.

2. The “pumper.”

I notice this more in men than women, as the person pumps my arm up and down continually, and I just want to end the connection. Certainly not the best way to introduce yourself.

3. Eyes Right (or Left).

It bothers me when I’m shaking hands with someone who doesn’t make eye contact. Maybe she lacks confidence, or sees someone on the other side of the room she’d rather be with than me. Either way, it doesn’t make me want to know her better.

4. The “fingertip” approach.

When someone only puts her fingertips into a handshake, it sends a signal that she moves through life in a half-hearted manner. It’s called a “handshake” not a “fingertip shake.”

5. Squeezing the life out of you.

The opposite of the “ladylike” or “fingertip” is the “crusher,” a handshake so tight that it makes me want to pull away before any bones are broken. Find a happy medium and it will make a difference in your business and your life.