\”Negotiator – How To Detect Hidden Danger In A Handshake” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“I didn’t come here to learn about handshakes. I came because I wanted to become a better #negotiator.” Those were the unfortunate comments of a seminar attendee. He didn’t realize that he’d overlooked a huge gambit in the negotiation process.

A #handshake conveys important information. The more people exchange them between one another, the more information they convey. It can say, I’m feeling overly optimistic today. It can say, my mood is somewhat deflated. It can also say that I’m going to dominate you because I feel superior today.

Very few people understand the value transmitted when they clasp someone’s hand. Are you aware of such messages when you shake someone’s hand?

After gaining insights from the following information, you’ll never look at, sense, or interpret a handshake as you’ve done in the past.


Some people equate a weak or wimpy handshake with someone of the same character. Be careful of the assumptions you make.

A weak or wimpy handshake may send a silent message of subservience. It can also be the disguise of someone that’s significantly stronger in character than the handshake conveys. It’s one tactic that good negotiators use to dupe the other negotiator into perceiving a false sense of weakness. That’s done to acquire insight into what the other negotiator might do once she sensed that she was dealing with a mentally weaker opponent.

If you wonder about the validity of such a person, shake hands several times during your interactions. Note the slightest degree of change in the firmness of their handshake. To the degree change occurs, it’ll serve as a barometer indicating a change in character.


The delivery of a bone-crushing handshake can be an attempt to display strength and dominance. It can be someone’s lack of recognition of their strength related to the hand they’re shaking. It could also be an attempt to conceal weakness.

I recall a business associate telling me that I shook his hand too hard. I knew I possessed a firm handshake but I’d not considered it to be bone-crushing. My associate reiterated his statement a few times. After that, I was always more attentive to not shaking his hand with the prior degree of intensity that I’d used before.

The point is, if you do have a firm handshake, know when to moderate it based on the circumstances. If someone delivers a bone-crushing handshake upon you, and it’s painful, consider saying something. Then, note if any change occurs. If it does, the person is displaying more alignment with you. If it doesn’t, the person doesn’t care how you feel. In either case, you will have gained valuable insight into the person.


The person controlling a handshake is the one that releases it last. A handshake on average last about five seconds. Thus, the person holding the hand of the other individual the longest is stating that they’re not ready to release that person.

Take note when someone extends a handshake pass what’s normal for the situation. They may be sending a subliminal message that they’re superior. They might also be holding your hand longer to comfort you or themselves. Therefore, note when such occurs and the situation in which it happens. Doing so will allow you to gain additional insight as to why they’re committing that act.


In every negotiation, note its beginning through the information sent via a handshake. If you become attuned to its intent, you’ll have greater insight into that person. That insight will add additional information about how you can negotiate better with them… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

PowerPoint Tip: Presentation Handouts: Yes or No, What Kind, and When?

There are different answers to this question but there is none that is suitable to all situations.

I recommend that you not provide just a print out of the slides. If you’re using slides properly, as a visual aide, you won’t most of what you say on the slides, so images of the slides won’t help people much. An exception would be a handout with space for people to take notes next to each slide. Then, they can write down your points.

Let’s discuss several situations and see what might work best in each one.

In-house business presentation

If you are presenting a proposal or reporting on a project to seek approval inside your organization, there might be these scenarios:

• You are giving a presentation that has no technical data: A handout is not needed in this situation but if you want to use one, distribute it after the presentation and make sure that your talking points are included-not just the slides.

• You are giving a presentation that has technical data that your audience needs to read for a successful presentation. Create handouts that contain just the data your audience needs to look at up close. Distribute them when they first need to see them.

While many people recommend giving out handouts at the start of the presentation, my experience, both as a presenter and as a member of the audience, is that this usually is disastrous. Why? Because people read the handouts while you are talking and don’t listen to you. Some people say that if the audience is motivated enough to listen, they will. Maybe that has been true in the past, but in this multitasking age, few people have the attention control to not read the handouts.

Others say that, you aren’t interesting if the audience isn’t listening to you. I think, as a presenter, that’s a high expectation for you in an everyday business setting.

Sales presentation

If possible, try to give your potential customers the handout after the presentation. Again, an exception would be if you need to present detailed data or description. However, if they ask for the handout in advance, you can’t say no, so I would just ask for their full attention. A sales presentation should certainly be engaging enough to keep your audience’s attention. You could provide two handouts-one with just the data needed during the presentation and another as a leave-behind.

Training presentation

Training presentations have a whole different set of considerations. If you want your audience to take notes, slides with space for taking notes can be helpful. But be careful; as a reader of this blog wrote me, it “ruins the anticipation of learning, causes distraction (flipping ahead) and can defeat the purpose of attending (to some extent).” If you give out all the information up front, people will feel that they don’t need to stay. After all, they have the notes. It’s like a college course that is based solely on the textbook; student will cut class.

In the academic arena, a great deal of research has been done on how to increase learning by students. For example, a 2009 study at Western Michigan University looked at handout out a combination of visuals (such as slides), a detailed outline, and blanks for students to take notes. This system resulted in better short-term recall than when the students took notes on their own paper or didn’t take notes at all. (Research has also shown that students miss a lot of important points when they take notes on their own.)

I always warn people against transferring academic research to the business arena, especially if your goal isn’t to get your trainees to do well on a test. If you’re training customer service reps to provide better service, short-term recall is not your main goal. You want people to think, right? And then transfer what they learned into action.

Interestingly, when tests involve analysis and synthesis of ideas, having the instructor’s notes does not result in higher grades. In my opinion, most situations, business training fits into this situation.

Conference or seminar presentation

Presentations that you deliver at a conference or seminar (sometimes called “ballroom presentations”) are a different. Sometimes, people expect it to be entertaining. Often, the content is not very technical. In these situations, I recommend not to provide handouts during the presentation. People will definitely skim them while you’re talking. They’re more likely to walk out if what they read doesn’t sound interesting. (Your presentation will probably be a lot more interesting than the handout!)

There’s a trend for providing handouts only electronically, because it saves paper, and therefore, trees.

Negotiation Skills – How to Increase Your Sales

Nearly everyday of your life you are negotiating for something, usually many times a day. And that doesn’t include the sales negotiations you participate in as your job.

Yet, despite the fact that you spend so much time in negotiations, during the big negotiations, many salespersons don’t employ the effective skill set and tactics that they use in other aspects of their lives.

For example, have you driven a car today? If so, you are negotiating decisions throughout the entire drive. Using your turn signal is a nonverbal negotiation with other drivers about where you want to turn your car. At every stop sign, you were part of a negotiation as to who should be given a turn to go ahead through the street corners.

By learning what works as a small negotiations, you can learn what works at the bigger discussions and negotiations.

There are three key steps in negotiation skills.

1. Know your sales goals -

It’s very difficult to obtain what you want if you don’t know what it is or why you want it. For example, knowing where you want to go in your car provides the focus you need to get to where you are going. And despite this basic first step and how simple it may seem, many salespersons enter into the larger negotiations without knowing what it is they want and why. Remember, the sales process begins way before you have your first conversation with the potential client.

2. Do your research -

Justifying the price for anything from a new vehicle to a corporation becomes much easier if you can show the buyer the item is worth every penny they are about to spend on it.

This means you must be responsible for the research your potential clients don’t have time to do. By doing this, you make the decision to buy your product or services easy for them. Provide them with as much information as you can to justify why the decision you want them to make is the right one. Many potential clients are waiting for a salesperson to bring them an actionable solution to their problems. Do yourself and the potential client a favor, do all the legwork ahead of time. If all they have to do is sign on the dotted line after hearing your presentation, you are more likely to get that signature.