Guest Post by Jenn Curtis
Co-Owner and Teaching Director at On Stage Production Company
With each new semester, I consistently do one thing as I meet new parents and students. I stick out my hand inviting them to shake. It might seem old fashioned to some people, but it helps give me information. A handshake can tell me about a person’s ability to connect, their confidence level, and charisma. I learn all of that in just a few seconds.
The ability to “connect” is found in the amount of eye contact. The handshake moment is not complete without the eyes. Many people say that the “eyes are the window to the soul.” What better way to meet a new person than to look them straight in the eyes and say, “hello”? It creates a connection, saying in essence, “I see you. You are important to me.” With technology comes isolating impersonal behaviors of texting, emailing, and social media interactions. With eye contact and a handshake, a person is socializing, expressing their personality, and making an impression.
A person’s confidence level is shown through the firmness of the handshake. A proper shake says, “I feel sure of myself and therefore I’m ready to connect.” That is the impression people want to make with others. Think about the limp or over strong handshake for a moment. What does that say to others? The limp handshake leaves a person wanting more and gives a feeling that a person doesn’t feel comfortable being in your presence. The over strong handshake leaves a person believing that you are overcompensating for feeling insecure. There needs to be a balanced space for a steady firm handshake that conveys your message of confidence.
Every handshake isn’t complete without a bit of individualism. A personalized touch has the ability to set you apart from the pack. By developing your own little charismatic twist, you can allow someone to remember you completely by your handshake. Some ideas are: pull the person in toward you a little, give a quick final firmer squeeze, use two hands, or shake until you are done talking. All of these additions can leave their mark and highlight your personality.
The handshake is physically simple: grip, shake, and release. Learning the art of the handshake takes time and effort. If you start teaching and practicing with your kids early, they can be effective communicators with one shake of the hand.
Here are 4 easy ways to include handshake mentoring for your children.
1. Teach how to shake a hand. This might seem obvious, but when was the last time you shook your child’s hand? Have you ever shaken their hand? Have you shown them the proper way to shake? It takes only a few minutes of conversation and demonstration.
2. Model the behavior. Do you have a good handshake? Is it firm and confident? Or do you need some practice? This is a great moment for parents and children to come together to practice a social skill. Also, encourage your family and friends to help everyone practice.
3. Allow freedom of expression. If you want a memorable handshake, then you’ve got to invent it. Allow the creative process at home, but a handshake isn’t used to create a weirdness competition. Try small actions that make a difference.
4. Practice and discuss. Whenever I meet someone new, I shake their hand. Allow your kids to do the same. This gives them practice time. However, if you add in a discussion later about a person’s reaction to their handshake, your child can learn about feedback and how great it can be.
On Stage Production Company provides unique and fun Performing Arts and Creative Writing Classes. Students will learn life skills to help them develop character and build confidence.
Come be a part of this exciting blended experience! Classes are located in Temecula and Murrieta areas.
Performing arts and creative writing classes consist of short story and essay writing, poetry, writing and acting in plays, improv, speech and presentation, entrepreneurship, special effects makeup, JR. Puppet Theater, teen acting groups, and a full play production every semester. On Stage also provides tutoring in English, Math, and Acting and also has a 3-hour drop-off enrichment day. They have classes located in Murrieta and Temecula areas as well as Co-Op style classes where they come to you! You can pick from any of the current or past classes or you can have a custom class made for you.