Hospitality sales managers shake hands properly

Hospitality sales managers shake hands well

Hospitality sales managers know how to correctly shake hands

Hospitality sales managers can do a wide variety of things to offend a client or send him/her looking elsewhere to find the ideal hospitality sales manager. I don’t want to scare you or make you paranoid, but I do want to give you a warning about an elementary skill. Why? Because your clients tell us it’s necessary.

In our business, we do lots of research into what it takes for a hospitality sales manger to get business for their hotels. We interview meeting and travel planners about this, and it’s surprising how frequently we hear that hospitality sales managers often really don’t know how to shake hands. Now you probably think that you don’t need this lesson, but judging from what YOUR clients tell us, you just might. So hospitality sales managers, take notice — get this simple one right!

In the US, there’s really only one handshake in business. There used to be two…a two-men business handshake and then a man-to-woman handshake. There remains a man-to-woman handshake in some places in the southern US, but that’s not a good business handshake. It might still apply socially but the hospitality sales manager has to use a business handshake whenever they are representing their hotel.

In fact, studies show that women who shake hands firmly and appropriately are more highly regarded in a business situation.

hospitality sales manager handshake

But first, before I discuss the handshake itself, consider some factors you may not have considered.

If you have naturally cold hands, or it’s a cold day, try to keep your right hand in your pocket to warm it up for awhile before you are near enough to people to be in a the handshake situation. Also, if your hand is wet or even damp, try casually wiping it off in your pocket, or on the back or side of your jacket or pants, on a napkin, etc. shortly before the handshake. And if your hands tend to be sweaty, and you’re expecting to be doing a lot of handshaking at an event, you can even try putting some unscented antiperspirant on your hand in advance.

Also, if you are carrying a drink (especially cold) or food, hold the drink in your left hand to avoid a clammy right hand when shaking hands. If you are caught with the food in your shaking hand, set the food down if it is at all convenient. If you are unable to do so, smile and give your apologies for having your hands full.

There are other pre-handshake considerations for the hospitality sales manager.

When one or both of you have something in your hands and if it would be inconvenient or awkward for you to set down the object(s), a simple nod and smile will do, along with a verbal acknowledgment of the other person. It’s potentially awkward to rearrange a loaded hand just for a handshake, possibly breaking what you are carrying. Obviously that embarrassment wouldn’t be worth the handshake.

There are other difficult pre-shake situations that exist for the hospitality sales manager. I there is a large table or other obstacle between you and the other person, shaking hands is impractical, so just smile, nod, and verbally acknowledge the introduction. If you are behind a desk, you should get up, walk around, and then offer your hand. Do not try to shake hands when you are behind your desk — this will convey an air of mistrust.

When you are sitting at the time of an introduction, unless you are physically incapable, always stand for a handshake. You should also stand without a handshake for an introduction where the other party is standing too far away to shake hands, such as if they are standing at the far side of a table at which you are seated.

And remember, when the other person is of much higher status, and you have nothing of value to discuss with him or her, shaking hands just to introduce yourself might make you seem forward or pushy.

There is a rule that trumps these others, though.

If the other person doesn’t follow one of these rules and offers his or her hand, the hospitality sales manager should reciprocate if at all possible and avoid embarrassing the other person.

Now, here’s how the hospitality sales manager should shake hands in any business situation. First, open your right hand wide and reach it forward, make sure the webs of your two hands hit first. Then look the other person in the eye and shake firmly for 1-3 seconds and you’re done. 1-2-3, finished.

Hopefully we don’t have to tell this to the savvy hospitality sales manager, but your grip should be firm with either crushing the other person’s hand, or on the contrary, being too weak.

For the hospitality sales manager, delivering a correct handshake can make or break your first impression on another person. A handshake that’s too weak can convey weakness or lack of self-confidence, while one that’s too strong can convey hostility. A well-executed handshake shows self-confidence, trust, and a true interest in the other person.

Allow me to recommend that you practice with friends or others you trust, and ask how you might improve.

It’s always a great asset for a hospitality sales manager to have this elementary skill: a good handshake. It’s simple, but an absolute must.


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