Infographic: Handshakes around the world

Most people understand that you have one chance to make a first impression. How you give your handshakes and/or greetings are part of that impression. Giving handshakes, however simple it sounds, can mean serious business, especially when different cultures have their own rules about how it should be done.

An example of the differences in etiquette can be seen in the US and Brazil, where a firm handshake is expected when greeting someone. This, however, is not be the case in the UK as British people prefer to greet one another with a lighter handshake.

In order to help us make a good first impression when giving handshakes, Business Insider has created this useful infographic. It features the proper handshake etiquette practiced from 14 different countries around the world. Take a look at the infographic below to ensure you know the proper etiquette:

Infographic: Handshakes around the world

Handshakes around the world

United States

In the U.S it is customary to introduce yourself to someone new by saying your name and offering a firm handshake.


If you’re a woman shaking a man’s hand, offer your hand first; women don’t shake hands with other women.


Here you would offer a gentle handshake and only shake hands with someone of the same gender.


In Russia you should only shake hands with the opposite sex if it is a business transaction. In this situation it is customary for a man to kiss the woman’s hand.


Here it’s customary for a long lasting handshake; if you are a man this can be followed by a hug.

South Korea

The most senior person starts the shake; use a soft grip.


Firm shakes are rude. Instead, hold the hand for a long time.

United Arab Emirates

Start off by shaking the hand of the oldest person; a lingering shake is expected, so try not to pull away too soon.


In Brazil you should offer a firm handshake that lasts long; mix in strong eye contact and make sure to repeat when you leave.


Age matters; you should shake the most senior persons hand first. Remember to grip lightly and bow slightly as you do this, but don’t without direct eye contact.

United Kingdom

A light handshake is expected; afterwards ensure that you don’t stand or speak to close.


There is no direct handshake here. The person will place their palms together at chest level and bow to you. Simply return this gesture.


Shake quickly and lightly.


Shake hands with everyone—and make sure you use a tile such as Ms. or Mr.—followed by his or her last name.

Now that you know how to properly shake someone’s hand, learn the types of hand gestures you should not make when travelling.