To contribute to the growth of their organisations, managers are often faced with situations where negotiation is an inevitable part of their role – whether it is to sign a new sponsor or establish a new partnership.

Often, it may be difficult for both sides to match each other’s expectations when it comes to reaching an agreement, but it can also be a lack of cooperation an trust from each side.

In order to gain such corporation, don’t underestimate the power of a handshake. While verbal communication and body language is of course key to deal-making, studies show that physical touch – such as shaking hands – can play an equally important role.

Beyond this physical element, handshakes have a strong symbolic meaning which is remarkably consistent across cultures – It is considered as a powerful gesture conveying warmth and cooperative spirit.

So next time you are entering or closing a negotiation, remember that shaking hands will likely increase people’s cooperative behaviour and help lead to a better outcome for both sides.

BCW Sports practice is the sport unit of global advisory firm Burson-Marsteller. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: