I’m sure you read articles about how to shake a client’s hand—or how not to. About 10 years ago, I once shook the hand of a client, who gave me the lamest, most limp-wristed hand shake ever—and I have always remembered it. Shorty after receiving payment from this client, with no cover letter or thank you note with the cheque, I remembered that dreaded handshake that basically said “I don’t like you”.
Ever since then, I have always given any client [I physically met] a very firm handshake. I never want to give a lame handshake like the one I received 10 years ago. However, recently I went to meet some clients that I was producing some work for (which was large-format prints, so I was physically erecting the display work).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I reached over to shake the client’s hand and I heard and felt every finger of his give a mighty CRACK. This was then followed by a loud “Ouch!”. To say that I was both embarrassed and concerned was an understatement. Fortunately, he was okay after the event—and I apologised for the incident.
I don’t think my hand shake was particularly too crushing, but I reckon his hand was more fragile than most. In future, I’ll be performing hand shakes with slightly less grip, but still firm—and I hope that I’ll never break a client’s hand.
I learned much from this episode, but I reckon I’ll be paranoid about shaking hands from now on.
Have you had a bad experience shaking a client’s hand? Do you have any other client nightmare stories to share?