Science says that millennials have terrible handshakes. Do you?

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​​​​​The Science Behind Handshakes

Research proves that, despite how much millennials emphasize health, physical strength isn't one of the traits they can brag about.

If you've got a task that requires a good grip or a beefy set of biceps, sorry to tell you, but as a millennial, you're likely not the best person to get 'er done. A recent study by researchers from the Journal of Hand Therapy reveals that, compared to people who were age 20-34 in 1985, individuals who are age 20-34 today generally have significantly weaker grip and pinch strength.

Why Frail Grips And Pinches Are A Big Pain

Hand and arm strength typically is a good indicator of overall strength and health. If you have to hand over your proverbial pickle jars to somebody else to open, you're likely at an increased risk for a wide range of medical conditions that arise with poor exercise and fitness, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, fatigue and joint problems. You also likely don't have the physical "reserves" you need to get through significant illnesses or injuries without functional losses.

Poor Grip Could Spell Trouble At Work, Too

If the health worries associated with a poor grip don't phase you, think about whether a career matters to you. Traditionally, a handshake is one of the ways people form an initial impression about someone else. No one wants their hand crushed on a first meeting, but a hand grip that's perceived as too light could send the message that you're not assertive or confident in yourself.

Check out the 10 worst body language mistakes to make in interviews:

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10 worst body language mistakes during interviews

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 

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That's not the picture you want to paint of yourself when you go in for job interviews, attend conferences, or meet with investors. The health problems associated with a poor grip could affect productivity, as well, even if you manage to come across as having an amazing personality.

A Reality To Hold On To

Millennials might be weaker than previous generations as a group, but that doesn't mean you can't be strong and healthy as an individual. Get up, get out and get going and your body will thank you.

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Click through to learn 10 things you should never say at work:

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10 things you should never say at work
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