The Art Of The Handshake.

by Patrick Liew on September 27, 2013

Recently, I shook hands with three persons and on three different occasions. They asked me the same age-old question, “Patrick, how’re you?”

While responding to the question, I was studying the body language of the first person. Quite clearly, he had no interest in me.

The second person couldn’t wait for me to complete the sentence to start the real agenda – his agenda.

The third person was only interested to sell me his product. Whichever way I changed the subject and whatever I said, somehow he was able to bring me back to his business.

On all three occasions, I was actually quite amused and could have burst out laughing. I thought to myself, “What if I had replied, ‘I’m about to commit suicide,’ would they have continued according to their hidden agenda?’

I was sure the third person would sell me with a greater sense of urgency. 🙂

I have been diligently studying the art of the handshake for many years. That to me is the start and one of the most important parts of a long and beautiful relationship.

Done correctly, our relationship will start to take traction. Otherwise, everything may just roll downhill.

Let me share with you about three Masters of handshakes, people who have made the greatest impact on me when they held my hands.

In 2002, I invited President Bill Clinton to deliver a lecture in Singapore. During his visit, it was such a great experience to interact with him and observe a Master of handshakes in action.

I could tell that he put in a lot of himself into every handshake. He would hold the hands longer than normal to make it special for the other party.

He would maintain eye contact and give the other party his megawatt smile. It seemed like nothing could distract him from that moment.

It was not surprising that many people told me subsequently and with almost the same words, “When I shook his hands, I felt like the world had disappeared. There were only two of us facing each other.”

Another Master of handshakes is Mr Alfred Wong, the Executive Chairman of Noel Holding, a publicly-listed company on Singapore Exchange.

Before he even held my hands, he made me feel like I’m a long lost friend and that he had been waiting for awhile to see me. I could feel the warmth exuding from every part of his being.

When he held on to my hands, it was not just a handshake. It was like we were two brothers connected for a special purpose.

When he smiled at me, the smile went straight to my heart. It was an electrifying moment.

Last but not least, another Master of handshakes who impressed me is Dr David Lim. He was my Senior Pastor until recently when he handed over the position to his successor.

I need to let you know that Dr Lim was a prodigy in school, having gone to University at the age of 15. He started preaching shortly thereafter and while serving in the church, he completed his doctorate degree in a prestigious institution.

He is a very intelligent man and if I may add, a leader of many talents and accomplishments.

Before I shook his hands, I could feel his humility. A sense of sincerity that made me feel that I’m important to him.

Dr Lim would shake my hands with passion and respect. He would tilt his head and while doing so, gently bow to me. He made me feel good about meeting him and feel good about myself too.

When he asked, “How’re you?” I knew it was not a perfunctory question. He meant it with all his heart and good intention.

He would look into my eyes and wait. He wanted to listen to me – I could feel it.

He would express care and concern and want to see if there were anything he could do for me.

He once told me, “When I shake hands with every person in church, I’ll pray for their well being in my heart.” Wow!

I’ve been trying for years now to model after these three Masters. I pray that I’ll be able to replicate the magic when my hands held on to another pair of hands.

Join me?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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