A well executed handshake may influence the opinion of those interviewing you.  We know that our body language says a lot about us, but did you know that your handshake can break or make a deal?  A handshake only lasts a few seconds, but during that time you have the power to influence and build rapport, whether your goal is to negotiate global peace or to sell a car, according to Dr. Jack Brown, a Body Language Expert.

We’ve heard that interviewers make up their mind about a person in the first two or three minutes of an interview, no matter how long the interview lasts.  One researcher found that the first impression begins with a handshake that sets the tone for the rest of the interview.

So here are six tips for great handshakes:

1. Make your grip firm, but not bone-crushing.
2. Avoid the “finger tips” handshake; make full palm-to-palm contact.
3. Shake up and down; it’s surprising that some people don’t do it.
4. Pump the hand three or four times – no more.
5. Manage the “wet fish” handshake – when someone gives you a weak handshake with little or no grip.
6. Make and hold eye contact with the other person. Lack of eye contact gives a powerful negative nonverbal clue. (Tip: when you first shake hands try to figure out the color of the person’s eyes.)

Although your handshake and making eye contact may seem like small things, they actually have a huge impact on a person’s first impression of you.

So what is your handshake telling others about you . . .?