Donald Trump: Art Of The Handshake

Donald Trump recently made news with his 19-second handshake of Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. I’m going to break down some of the more unique aspects of Donald Trump’s handshake and in this video, we’re also going to cover the more standard business handshake which many people habitually do incorrectly creating an impression of weakness or over-compensating insecurity. But first, if you haven’t seen it, here is Trump’s 19-second handshake. What did they say? “Please, look at me.” Alright, thank you, press. I said that this handshake has some unique properties but it’s actually not unique for Donald Trump because it contains a number of his signature moves. I’m not going to speculate on why he does these but they absolutely do exist. First off, the yank — this off-balances the other person and likely makes that person reluctant to take control of the interaction and probably makes them a little suspicious of Donald Trump. Check out another example here… Thank you to Mike Pence. Thank you, everybody. …then you’ve got the wrist bend and lift. Twisting the wrist this way is easy enough for the person doing it but it puts the person on the other end in a very uncomfortable position and it likely has the same effect as the yank namely that it makes the other person less likely to take control of the interaction and probably a bit more suspicious of Trump. Here it is in a different context. And lastly, we see the hand tap. What’s interesting here is that while both the yank and the wrist bend and lift are uncomfortable, the hand tap is relatively nice and it’s more likely to be perceived as good-natured but when you’ve just yank someone towards you and crank their wrist, the hand tap becomes more of a pacifying behavior almost as if to say, “No hard feelings,” which matches what Trump said after the handshake — something that didn’t get much coverage. Listen closely. Alright, thank you, press. Thank you, everybody. Strong hands, when you… (Shinzo laughs) Did you hear Trump say, “Strong hands”? This is a classic Trump double-bind. If Abe accepts the compliment and thinks, “Yes, I do have strong hands,” he’s just accepted that the yanking didn’t happen. After all, he has strong hands so no one would be able to whip him around. But if Abe thinks, “No, I don’t have strong hands. You just nearly ripped my arm off,” he’s accepted that he has weak hands and probably should have done more to prevent himself from being yanked around in the first place. It creates a fascinating mental trap and it’s one that we’ve discussed in earlier videos on Trump which I will link to, again, in the description. But the sum of it here is that Trump is able to pull a physically dominant move while verbally complimenting Abe and in some cases, this could position him as the dominant force in an interaction without too much resistance from the other person but all that only works if the person mentally accepts the double-bind which isn’t a guarantee and if there are no news cameras around, much more importantly because when there are cameras, people start to prepare for that same tactic. Watch out how Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau braces himself against Trump’s shoulder and resist two attempted yanks. The lesson here is that when you pull covert power moves whether they’re conscious or not, word is likely to get out and it may wind up backfiring in the long run. The good news for you is that in 29 years of my life, I have never come across someone who shook hands like Donald Trump does so you’re unlikely to need to physically brace yourself against someone’s shoulder but I promise you will come across all manner of weird handshakes and some may even be your fault which is why I thought it would be good to cover how to shake hands properly. This may seem obvious but it’s very simple to mess up and, who knows, maybe Donald Trump will even watch this and we can avoid this kind of stuff happening again. Just to be clear, the shake that I’m talking about in this video is the business handshake — not the fist bump, not the bro hug — maybe those will be in another video. For this, the mentality is that handshakes are not your chance to prove how dominant you are. There’s a chance to build trust. The goal is not for your body language to show raw power but to show that you are warm, assertive, and not hiding anything. So don’t treat it as a dominance contest or else you’re starting off in an adversarial frame which is not great for business. Second off, in a professional business environment, at least in America, this is the most common greeting for people of all levels both male and female. Obviously, you have a whole lot more options in social settings but this is the go-to greeting at work. Now that that is said for the mechanics, the biggest issue is not knowing whether or not you should be shaking someone’s hand. Check out this video for an example. Look at this lucky policeman who gets to shake hands with the president of the United States. Oh, and here comes the prime minister of th— No. Gordon Brown winds up looking kind of like a jerk because he didn’t take that guy’s hand so the safe bet is to always shake someone’s hand the first time you meet them or if handshaking has already started amongst that group — don’t be the guy sitting out not shaking hands. And you communicate that you’re ready to shake someone’s hand simply by extending your hand usually two to three steps before you get close enough to reach that person. Wait any longer like Gordon Brown did in this clip and it could be confusing. So it might look something like this. Good morning. Good morning. The second and very important piece with regards to mechanics is to keep your fingers fairly straight on the approach. The problem with curled fingers is that it doesn’t give the other person a good angle to connect the web between their thumb and forefinger with yours combine this with the lack of tension in your muscles, after all it is tension that forces your hand open, and it means that you’ll wind up giving them the dead fish handshake where they can only grab your fingers. If this consistently happens to you, uncurl your fingers. You want to make it easy for the other person to connect the web between your thumb and index finger and the uncurled fingers make that much, much easier. Merkel does much better in this clip. Third, come in with your hand at a vertical angle — this typically requires you to face the person with whom you’re shaking hands. If you find people are often grabbing your fingers, it’s usually because you are tilting your hands palm downward and not giving a big enough target for the web of your hands. Ignore the awkwardness of the double shake in this next clip and just watch how the fact that Trudeau is facing forward makes it hard for him to give Obama his hand at a neutral angle creating a finger shake. Another issue that causes bad handshakes is when you start shaking a hand before you’ve actually connected hands and this is most likely to happen in groups when you’ve shaken a bunch of hands and your hand is just in shake mode before you’re actually touching people’s hands. It looks like this. This is a Key and Peele skit but the handshake here is actually natural and the point stands. If you want that handshake to connect, you need to touch webs first, grasp the hand, and then shake. It’s particularly important to keep in mind in groups because sometimes that hand just keeps going. When you do it right, it looks like this. Lastly, give the hand a squeeze only after the web of your hand connects. If you squeeze before that connection, you will wind up just gripping fingers and this is what bone crusher guys tend to do and it does not make you well-liked. Here’s an example of that. Finally, once you’ve got their hand in yours, give two to three shakes and you’re good to go. In some, decide that you’re shaking hands and make that clear by extending your hand two to three steps before you arrive in their space. If you’re forced to close quarters with someone before shaking hands, stick your hand out decisively so that they see it and don’t ignore you. You may even have to gently grab their other shoulder if they don’t see your hand the first time. And then, keep your hand at a vertical angle with your fingers uncurled, hit the web of their hand with the web of yours before grabbing and you’re set. And perhaps the most important thing, if no one shakes your hand because they don’t see it, you can always just do it yourself. And if you’re curious about the other elements of a great first impression that are not just shaking hands, we’ve set up a video that covers four things that you’ll want to keep in mind. If you want to check that video out, click the button on the screen now. You’re going to be taken to another page where you can submit your email and get immediate access to that video, now. Also, if you like this video and want to see more on the topic of charisma and confidence, make sure to click the subscribe button now. If you really want to see more videos, make sure to hit the notification bell as well. Otherwise, it’s just kind of recommendations from our channel and the sidebar from time to time. Subscribe is plenty. Either way, I’m making new videos every single week to help you master your charisma and I hope that you decide to watch. Drop any comments that you have for video topics below. I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve for this next week but nothing a hundred percent so your comments really can help tip the balance if there’s something you’re particularly interested in — I’ll be keeping an eye on those. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this video and I look forward to seeing you in the next one. By the way, Happy Carnival.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. In America business community, strong handshake is strongly recommend. I knew that after I shake the hand of Enterprise CEO.

  2. I hope that women watch this video. For some reason, we aren't taught these small social skills and they really do make a difference. Mastering the handshake is pretty easy and it's so rare for a woman to have this skill that some men will do a pleasantly surprised double-take. It immediately elevates you.

  3. In your examples notice Trump is positioned to the person's left which crosses their right arm across their body forcing them off-balance

  4. Here's my theory about what Trump's handshakes are all about:

    Trump does the exact same thing every time he meets someone of importance: He immediately tells them both that he respects them, and that they're his competitor. He literally said during an interview: "Well actually, I called him a competitor. And a good competitor he is. And I think the word 'competitor' is a compliment."

    He warns people ahead of time that he's going to be adversarial, but also assures them that he respects them regardless. He does so so that they don't feel betrayed or misled when in the future, he actually does butt heads with them in a negotiation over something.

    By extension, I think that's what the handshakes are all about. They're supposed to be blatantly adversarial, because he wants people's first impression to be "I am your competitor, not your friend, I am telling you this up front."

    Whether or not it actually works as intended is up for debate. Given that he's stopped doing it as of late he probably realized the intended message wasn't getting through.

  5. I tried this handshake at the meeting with a new salesman and it worked so well that it made me feel more confident on controlling the deal i think trump was raised and had serious business lessons in his family

  6. This should be retitled, "The Art of Spreading Pathogens with Confidence". Handshaking is a brain-dead social convention and over-blown psychological manipulation. Its one of the easiest and efficient methods of spreading pathogens, yet people place so much value upon it. We have no clue where the other person's hands have been, and half the time we are not even mindful of what we have done with our hands before shaking someone else's. Why do we need to be so grabby-touchy-feely just to say hello? You can respectfully acknowledge someone with a simple bow, like the Japanese, without grabbing them and putting your hands all over their body like some attention-starved perv. The same goes for kissy-face greetings – "Ooo, let me deposit some of my mouth germs on your face for other idiots to sample with their mouths when they say hello."

  7. Hmm, have you come across a billionaire thats successful? Yeah im gonna take your advice over someone that successful.

  8. What I always wonder, and what I'd love to see a video about from you, is when do you change your type of greeting? When do you switch from handshake to hug for example or how to do the preparations for such a change

  9. Well done brother. Clear and concise. Easy to follow with great examples. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

  10. I’ve done this to a few people since watching this video and it is really something! Try it and you’ll feel power

  11. When people pull that on me I look for a moment at their hand, then switch to their eyes with a neutral but serious look. They'll usually cut the bullshit.

  12. I would like to know more about hand shake… Like: If you shake the hand and the person keep shaking (creppy guys… Mostly) How to release yourself?? (Sometimes i Just try to take off my hand really rapidly or i look at him like i would kill him hahahaha)
    Sometimes I naturally shake the hand with my both hands… What this means?
    And at last if the other person squizze or hand in an attempt to play "who van squizze It harder" (yes… Creepy insicure of their masculinity guys)… What should i do? Go along, do the opposite….

  13. What do you think would happen or how trump would react if you blatantly called him out in a light hearted joking way like ”lol why did you just twist and jerk my wrist like that?” while smiling? Because thats how I would react.

  14. You have no idea what you’re talking about. It IS a dominance situation especially in business. The “yank” is important. Then when holding the shake you put your other hand over their hand so you have 2 hands on them also showing dominance while pretending you’re being nice and “petting” their hand. Clearly you have never been in business. You’re 100% incorrect.

  15. You gotta check out the Macron – Trump handshake. I really think that one needed to be in this video.



  18. 4:56. I wonder what his mind frame was like after. Was it “Wow, I shook the US president’s hand” or “I’m embarrassed that the Prime Minister didn’t shake my hand”?

  19. Maybe Prez Trump wanted to make sure they have it on the screen of the Internet, or TV or any devices other patents ( things) that I did not come to know!!!

  20. There is no doubt there is more going on in trumps head then what people think he is one crazy motherfu#%er

  21. Ever shake a hard working mans hand? Brace yourself.
    The fist bump is for people who don’t want you to know their truth.

  22. I personally love the way President Trump shows he’s in control of the interaction. The last limp wrist President we had showed no strength in any situation.

  23. It was a photoshoot hence the extended handshake. This is the first I've seen of this video but around 2017 I gave my nephew some pointers on the handshake. His was limpy and half handed, a finger shake. I put our hands together firmly and told him, "If the person you are shaking hands with doesn't give you EYE CONTACT you know not to trust him (his step-dad does that after I pay for his & his fam damily seasonal meals out)." His stepdad then gave me eye contact but we weren't shaking hands… My most memorable handshake was from my new neighbors, the U. S. Marshall and his wife. Both were firm, powerful, eye contact, and pleasant small talk.

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