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Handshake Etiquette From Around The World

How we introduce ourselves to someone new can reveal a lot about the type of person we are. Traditionally in most countries throughout the world people tend to greet one another by shaking hands. You could be forgiven for thinking that shaking hands is a standard practice but there are many different forms of handshake etiquette around the world.

An example of the differences in etiquette can be seen in the U.S and Brazil, where a firm handshake is expected when greeting someone. This would not be the case in the UK as British people prefer to greet one another with a lighter handshake.

Every country has a unique set of customs when it comes to greeting, especially when conducting a business transaction. Here are a few of the different ways people shake hands in countries around the world.

The United States

In the U.S it is customary to introduce yourself to someone new by saying your name and offering a firm handshake.


Here you would offer a gentle handshake and only shake hands with someone of the same gender.


In Russia you should only shake hands with the opposite sex if it is a business transaction. In this situation it is customary for a man to kiss the woman’s hand.

South Korea

Here the senior person starts the handshake and uses a soft and polite grip.


Shake hands using a soft grip and hold the hand for a prolonged time.


In Brazil you should offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact with the other person.


You should shake the most senior persons hand first with a soft grip. Remember to slightly bow as you do this but not to look directly in the person’s eye.


There is no direct handshake here. The person will place their palms together at chest level and bow to you. Simply return this gesture.


It is customary to shake hands quickly with a light grip.


Here it is customary for a long lasting handshake; if you are a man this can be followed by a hug.


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