President William Ruto shaking hands with CNN journalist Larry Madowo
Image: Twitter

CNN correspondent Larry Madowo has been on the receiving end of netizens' wrath after he shared a picture of himself exchanging pleasantries with President William Samoei Ruto during the just concluded climate summit.

In the said photo, the two appeared cheerful with the president smiling broadly and Larry laughing heartily.

Netizens were surprised that the journalist used only one hand to greet President Ruto. Greeting the president with both hands is often seen as a sign of respect, and Kenyans are not accustomed to Larry's ways.


Flocking his comment section and sharing their thoughts on the social media app X, Kenyans called out the journalist who had his hand casually chilling by his side while shaking hands with the president.

Ironically, after much research I came to learn what Larry did is the standard when greeting a head of state.

Using both hands when greeting a president or a head of state is not typically the standard protocol in most countries and cultures.


Two-Handed Handshake:

Image: courtesy

In some cultures particularly in Asia and the Middle East, a two-handed handshake may be more common and considered a sign of respect and sincerity.

This involves offering your right hand for a standard handshake while placing your left hand lightly on top of the other person's hand. It's crucial to research and be aware of the cultural norms of the country you are visiting or the preferences of the president you are meeting.

Special Occasions:

In certain formal or ceremonial occasions, a two-handed handshake might be more acceptable, especially if the president initiates it.

For example, during official state visits or special events, presidents may use a two-handed handshake as a symbol of warmth and goodwill.

In general, when meeting a head of state, it's best to follow the standard one-handed handshake unless you are aware of specific cultural or individual preferences that suggest otherwise.

Using both hands without understanding the context could be seen as overly familiar or lacking in awareness of protocol, so it's essential to be respectful and observant in these situations.

In many formal settings, a one-handed handshake is the preferred and expected gesture.

When you find yourself in the esteemed presence of a head of state, knowing how to greet them with poise and reverence is paramount.

Image: Courtesy

Your approach should convey not only respect but also an understanding of international protocol.

Below are a few tips;

1. Wait for Their Cue:

In most cases, the head of state will initiate the handshake. They may extend their hand first, signalling that they are ready to greet you. Be patient and observant.

2. Hand Positioning:

When offered a handshake, keep your right hand free and unencumbered. Your palm should be perpendicular to the ground, fingers extended and together, and thumb relaxed along the side of your hand. This neutral and open hand position symbolizes equality and sincerity.

3. Shake Gently and Briefly:

Engage in a gentle, up-and-down handshake for about two to three pumps. Keep the motion controlled and concise, avoiding overly vigorous shaking. A prolonged handshake may appear inappropriate or overly familiar.

4. Smile Gracefully:

A warm and genuine smile is always appreciated. It signifies friendliness and approachability, making the interaction more pleasant.

5. Maintain Composure:

While engaging in the handshake, remember to stand upright and maintain good posture. This demonstrates respect and professionalism.

6. Verbal Greeting:

Accompany the handshake with a polite verbal greeting, such as "Your Excellency," "Mr. President," or "Madam President," depending on the title of the head of state. Always use their appropriate title and address.

In the world of international diplomacy and etiquette, a simple handshake can carry significant weight. It reflects your understanding and appreciation of protocol, respect for the head of state's position, and your own professionalism.

By mastering this art, you'll not only leave a positive impression but also contribute to smoother dip

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