‘Improve on You’

What does your Handshake say about you?

Do you come over as a ‘wet fish’? Or do you inflict ‘the covering stamp’ or ‘the vice’ on those you meet?

The Chamber’s well-attended first networking event of 2015 was an opportunity to consider first impressions with Paul Ryan of ‘Improve on You’ Presentation Training.

An actor with credits including Oliver! (The Artful Dodger), Grange Hill, Mamma Mia and Round the Horne (as Kenneth Williams), Paul demonstrated the body language behind the handshake.

It was generally agreed that we want our first impression to be one of trustworthiness and openness. But if our handshakes demonstrate a desire to dominate (the ‘covering stamp’ or ‘vice’), or engender revulsion (the ‘wet fish’), they immediately undermine our efforts.

Taking us back to our primitive roots, Paul explained how the ‘open handshake’ with palm upwards demonstrates the lack of a concealed weapon, and invites the counterpart to take the ‘upper hand’. A subtle forward movement can add to the sense of trust, as one draws the opposite hand towards your most vulnerable area. There was much hilarity as Paul put us through our paces, and some dissent from the Chiltern ladies, who claimed they don’t tend to shake hands anyway!

Paul finished off with a ‘pen test’ technique to explain the importance – physiological as well as psychological – of smiling when presenting.

Whether or not we change our hand shaking techniques, Paul provided plenty of food for thought as to the impressions we make.

Finally, Andy Garnett presented Michael Clark, of Clarks of Amersham, with his Chiltern Chamber Special Recognition Award, for services to the business community and business growth. Michael had been unavailable when the other two awards were presented on December 2nd.