A Handshake Changes Everything

Andrea Zanon
2 min readFeb 26, 2023

I just came out of an investor meeting where I had to walk away before the end of the meeting. And I tried to shake hands with two of the investor partners and there was that awkward moment of …..I put my hand forward and then nobody reciprocated. Which makes me want to share my experience with you and talk to you about why handshakes are so important. Doing it right, it’s essential.

When they did not reciprocate, I felt embarrassed, insecure. I kept my hands out there for a second and then brought it back, smiled, walked away and blushed.

And that’s the way everybody should do it. You know me, I’m a big fan of emotional intelligence and how we get a better understanding of our social interaction, social awareness, so that we can be very effective as we interact with others. That starts with a powerful handshake, a good handshake. This is gender neutral. Both men and women should use their hands to establish powerful contacts with their interlocutors.

How do we do it? Number one, look people in the eyes. Even if that challenges you, look people in the eyes, extend your hand and give a firm handshake. It does not need to be a Mike Tyson handshake, but it does need to be a firm one.

And it doesn’t need to be too long either. Make sure that when you reach out, you establish a powerful connection. You look people in the eyes, and in the worst case, when you do reach out and you don’t get reciprocated, smile and walk away with it. Not everybody is comfortable. Keep in mind, we are post COVID.

People don’t know if they can touch you, fist you, or hug you. Walk away if nobody reciprocates. And the worst thing you can do is try to reach out with a hand and not do it. Stand tall. Open your body.

That, by the way, brings up your testosterone level and owns your handshake. And look people in the eyes. That’s the first victory, the first emotional intelligence mastery behavior that you need to conquer and get comfortable with their rejections. If somebody doesn’t reciprocate, that’s okay. Stand tall.

Look at people in the eyes give a firm handshake and say goodby.



Andrea Zanon

A skilled & multitalented financial professional, Andrea Zanon has spent 25 years building a career around the globe. Learn more on his website andreazanon.org!