How to expand your network

How to shake hands like President Clinton

To be a global mover and shaker, learn how to shake hands effectively. Your handshake will do much to establish people’s first impression of you, and is an important part of establishing an initial connection with someone.

President Clinton with rapper Puffy Combs

If you don’t have a passable handshake, you probably won’t get the job, or the deal done.

On how to shake hands, I have instruction for you from the master of hand-shaking, former United States President Bill Clinton. These tips are from my friend John Kobara’s career blog, and tell the story of our friend Steve Soboroff, a prominent Los Angeles businessman. Once while he was golfing with President Clinton, Steve asked the president how he copes with shaking so many hands. President Clinton stopped right there, and gave Steve a lesson on hand-shaking. Here’s what he said:

  1. Slow down and take your time
  2. Make direct eye contact and smile
  3. Give a firm grip and little or no shaking, two pumps at most
  4. Take the other hand and grab the forearm or elbow of the other person

Step #4 is the key to President Clinton’s world-famous ability to connect with other people. The other hand adds an extra dimension of enthusiasm and trust to the shake. President Clinton also points out this also prevents the other person from pulling your arm out of the socket, especially if you have to shake a lot of hands!

Whether or not you choose to add that extra Step #4, keep in mind that everyone wants to be remembered, including you. So say your name slowly and listen, and repeat the name of the person you are meeting.

That’s it! You’re now on your way to shaking hands like President Clinton himself.

Comments in English and Chinese are welcome, on the Chinese version of this blog post, which is here.

Come shake hands with me and other exceptional talents who read the GlobalRenCai blog! –at our upcoming parties, this Saturday 12 June in Beijing, and next week Saturday 19 June in Shanghai. Due to the unexpectedly large number of RSVPs, we’ve had to change the Beijing party location. Updated details here.