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Hakan Goholt’s three tips for the perfect handshake

Stiff as a bear or limp like a fish – the perfect handshake is hard to master.

But the person who has had a lot of practice is the Swedish ambassador to South Africa – Håkan Goholt.

Here are his top three tips.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi crushed world leaders with a firm handshake during the G20 meeting in New Delhi, and images of suffering presidents and prime ministers were sent around the world.

But what does it really take to have a good handshake? One person with more experience than others is Sweden’s ambassador to South Africa, Håkan Goholt. Both in his current position and previously as ambassador to Iceland and leader of the Social Democrats, he has shaken a lot of paws. When Aftonbladet reached him, he was about to take off on a flight, but he managed to write down his three most important lessons.

A handshake should establish trust, not a sign of strength or superiority. It is an act of reciprocity.

Eye contact is crucial. A handshake without eye contact is disrespectful, indifferent and insulting.

It is a confirmation of a contact, agreement, or the like, and therefore should not be long. Just a few seconds. It is touch and physical contact that should primarily express affection. A formal version of a hug, which does not suit all contexts.

With this advice, the Swedish ambassador sets off on his way to new adventures and new palms to press.