It starts with a handshake.
Confidence, Character, Lasting Success.
Three important words in our school’s mission statement. We want our students to be confident, polite, and articulate communicators on campus and in the broader community. Nothing says “confidence” more than when a person makes direct eye contact with you and smiles. This is even more impactful when it is a child!
This year, as middle school students enter the building, they will be greeted by the Head of the Middle School with a handshake, direct eye contact, and a friendly “good morning.” This simple ritual will start each day by highlighting the importance of personal connections and signifying a fresh start to each day.
In 2012, researchers at Beckman Institute’s Cognitive Neuroscience Group conducted a study on the role a handshake plays in social interaction. Their neuroscience research confirmed an old adage about the power of a handshake: strangers do form a better impression of those who proffer their hand in greeting.
Handshake "how to"
Practice at home! All skills need to be refined, refreshed, and practiced. The best way to improve and gain confidence with a handshake is to try it out.
- Make eye contact - a perfect handshake begins before hands ever meet.
- Slow and Steady - Begin to extend your right hand in a steady, deliberate manner. Remember to maintain some flexibility in your elbow.
- Smile a confident, reassuring smile.
- See the space between the thumb and index finger? Focus on the webbing of your hand, this is the portion that will ‘lock’ into place with the other shaker’s hand.
- Squeeze the hand of the other person as if you’re gripping the handle of a gallon of milk—firm enough to not drop it but not so firm that you crush the plastic.
- Maintain eye contact throughout.
- Gently shake hands up and down (no more than 3 times).
- Offer a greeting "Good Morning", "Nice to meet you".
- Release your grip and bring your hand and arm back to your side.
- Continue conversation or exit with ease.
While academics will always be a top priority at St. Michael's, we also look for ways to teach our students how to be confident and competent communicators. The combination of classroom knowledge and interpersonal skills they acquire while at St. Michael's, empowers our students to develop strong character and leadership qualities that will last a lifetime.