The Power of a Handshake

What’s with politicians and all that handshaking? Every campaign appearance starts and ends with concentrated handshaking sessions with as many potential voters as possible despite the danger candidates face when wading into a crowd of strangers peppered with adversaries. Some campaign appearances are completely focused around pressing the flesh — a fleeting gripping of palms accompanied by little or no verbal exchange of substance, but to politicians that brief handshake is priceless; worth even risking death. That’s because handshaking and body language in general communicate powerfully and deeply about the internal state and intentions of other people. Through the handshake we establish the level of trust between ourselves and the other individual. We divine earnestness, truthfulness, and we measure the depth of friendship or deceit in the other party. In all formal social interactions and in business, the handshake in western society precedes discussion and seals the deal at the end.