by Keli Ratcliffe

At Anderson & Associates, we shake a lot of hands; as do most of you I’m sure. Hand shaking is simply a small part of the ritual of doing business as we know it here in the US. Or is it? Your handshake reveals a lot about you. In fact, more often than not, you’re judged by it. Apparently a good handshake packs quite the punch. Figuratively, not literally of course.

Bill Keaton shaking handsA&A’s VP of Environmental Engineering, Bill Keaton knows quite a bit about the art of shaking hands. In September, when he was asked to share that information with the Women Inspiring the Next Generation to Soar (WINGS) group at Virginia Tech, he jumped at the chance.

Among his audience were aspiring young women who will soon be entering the workforce, and are looking for every opportunity to stand out in the crowd while navigating the increasingly competitive job market. The perfect handshake may end up being their secret weapon.

Bill explained that a handshake doesn’t have to be just another social obligation. A good handshake is subtle, yet firm; long enough, but not lingering; and if mastered, can set the tone of a successful relationship with the person to whom you’re greeting. Shaking hands is a custom that allows others to see what you represent and who you are; in essence, it can define you. Crafting your perfect handshake is nothing to scoff at. The ladies of WINGS agreed, and welcomed tips from Bill, while practicing their hand shaking technique. They are well on their way to grasping their perfect hand shake; no pun intended.

Bill Keaton shaking handsThe purpose of WINGS is to provide a support network for collegiate women in engineering, to prepare them for key transition points throughout their collegiate careers and into the business world, and to empower them to fulfill their potential. The goal is to help program participants develop their professional skills, build confidence in their ability to navigate successfully in the business world, and become grafted into the professional network of women leaders in industry.

If you’d like to contact Bill Keaton, or shake his hand, email him at

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