This photograph of Hillary Clinton and Indonesia’s foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa really bugs me. I’m not the biggest fan of Hillary and I actually don’t even like to discuss politics. What bothers me about his photo is the the handshake. Ms. Clinton is barely grasping Mr. Natalegawa’s hand and he clearly has a soft grip on her. This breaks both parts of BizEtiquette Tip #15 better known as Limp Noodles.
Let’s talk about Hillary. I am sure that she has had hours of media and relations coaching and it surprises me that she doesn’t shake with a firmer grip. She might be holding back due to some Indonesian custom of women being submissive to men. But as an American woman who holds some political power, I kind of expect her to set a confident example for the rest of us. Let’s assume that there are no men vs. women issues in Indonesia and Mr. Natalegawa is just a regular dude shaking a lady’s hand for the first time. He is handed a limp noodle by Hillary and so what does he do? He gently holds her hand so that he doesn’t hurt her. Now we have TWO limp noodles.
You may think I am over analyzing a simple handshake. I am! Etiquette is one of my passions, it’s what I do. The lesson here is: If you are a woman, be confident with yourself. Hand over a strong, firm handshake with good eye contact. It shows that you are secure with yourself and mean biz. If you are a man, we can take it! Give us a firm shake in response. You aren’t going to crush us.