Why women should give firm handshake?

There are growing discussions around bringing more women to executive roles. Women should continue to work on making little improvements. Little steps would have a ripple effect in improving the overall (working) environment for women. One cannot ask for a position without showing the right attitude and skill to hold that position.

To begin with, can we ask women to give a firm handshake during business meetings? In most meetings, men in the room would shake hands with everyone and women will either restrict themselves to wishing “Hi” with a hesitant, withdrawn handshake or just a wish.

Why there is hesitation? One of the possible reasons could be that most of us grew up in a patriarchal society. Inferiority complex is seeded in our mind. Deep down we think men are better than us. Or even if they are not better, we are afraid of breaking the yesteryear rules. As if, it would be a ‘Crime‘. Having said it has been noticed that the change is happening fast. In last 2 years, there are more women executives announced compared to previous years.

As we become more confident and take up more responsibility, we would be eventually breaking the mold. The next step would be to let the world know about this new-found confidence.

One should have a firm handshake and have a proper eye contact during the shake. Eye contact is important too. Body language conveys a lot about your confidence and shows how promising you are! If you are not confident about yourself and your ideas, how do you expect other people to believe in you?

Lean In, the book by Sherly Sandberg, discusses this topic practically. She talks about her personal experiences – how she went into an executive meeting in client’s office and there was no women toilet on that floor. Apparently, the company never felt the need to have a women toilet on the floor. That’s just a glimpse of women representation at the executive level. One could count the number of female leaders in leadership positions. And those who are, half of them comes from a strong economic background.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

I am not saying that one should be biased towards women during hiring. The only ask is that there shouldn’t be any biases at all. A job should be given based on merit and not based on certain prejudices.

The other point that Sherly discusses is that woman doesn’t ask questions. Whether it is meeting or conference, they would never raise hands. Again, why? Why don’t we ask questions? Asking right questions is more important than giving right answers. Because right questions lead people to relevant answers.

She also mentioned that during the meetings, women will always take back seats. Even if there are empty seats in the front, they won’t grab them. And that shows that they are not taking enough initiatives to progress. They are either happy or afraid of taking risks. If you want something you have to ask for it. One has to show the willingness.

It’s also important that women cheer up each other’s success. Support one another to be more confident and move up the corporate ladder. All can be done but I think, to begin with, start with a firm handshake with an eye contact. This slight change will make a huge difference in your personality and that is a promise!