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Today I met with the women behind Pretty Young Profesionnal (PYP). I met with both Amanda and Kathryn a few months back and it was really great to see their progress. Not surprising we were discussing things that young professionals, who have just graduated college, should know but might not really know when entering the workforce. The obvious answer to me is the handshake.
I was taught at a young age to have a firm handshake. There are certain things that carry you far and I believe that is one of them. I don't exactly remember the occasion but I certainly do remember teaching my kids. Each kid was taught by the time they were probably two to shake someones hand. We would practice. Firm but not too firm, snug so that your hand fits firmly in the other persons hands and always make sure you look someone in the eye when you make the shake. Also, don't let anyone get away with the fish shake or when he gives you a little clutch. Just stick your hand in there and go for it.
I do remember that when the kids were about 3, 6 and 8 we were going somewhere or having an event that I thought it was important to make sure that they were all up on their handshaking skills. I lined them all up and made them each shake my hand until they got it down and shake each others. I am sure they laugh about it but I have witnessed them over the years meeting many people of all ages and always putting out their hand to firmly shake the persons hand and saying "hi, i'm whoever, nice to meet you.". Manners are key.
Many times when I shake someones hand, particularly some men, they say, "wow, you have a firm handshake" as if that is a surprise or an acknowledgement, never quite sure. Today I told both Amanda and Kathryn a story about shaking hands that I actually learned from my Mother. She had done the same thing with someone years ago who had worked for her.
I had a young woman working for me in the 90's. We were going on a sales call together. Right before we walked in the office building I said to her, shake my hand. Her grip wasn't firm, it was soft and limp. I went on to explain the importance of a good handshake and we stood outside for about five minutes shaking hands until she got it.
I wonder about her once in a while and if she remembers that day. I hope that it was a great learning moment that has carried her far into wherever her journey took her. When she was working for me, she definitely fell under the category Pretty Young Professional