Formula for the perfect handshake PDF Print E-mail
Scientists have created a formula for the perfect handshake in a bid to help Britons overcome their uncertainty about the custom.

More than two-thirds (70%) of people said they lacked confidence when it came to performing the gesture, according to a survey for Chevrolet.

Staff at the car firm will be instructed on the ideal technique with a five-step process and given the mathematical formula in a new handshake training guide.

The handshake has been a traditional greeting, a symbol of peace and a key part of business deals for thousands of years and on average people will shake hands 15,000 times in a lifetime.

But the poll found nearly one in five (19%) hated the act and were unsure how to do it properly. The biggest problems were sweaty palms, limp wrists, gripping too hard and lack of eye contact.

Professor Geoffrey Beattie, head of psychological sciences at the University of Manchester, devised the equation taking into account 12 key measures - such as vigour, eye contact, hand temperature, positioning and length - needed to convey respect and trust to the recipient.

He said: "The human handshake is one of the most crucial elements of impression formation and is used as a source of information for making a judgment about another person.

"A handshake reveals aspects of the personality of the person giving it - for example, a soft handshake can indicate insecurity, whilst a quick-to-let-go handshake can suggest arrogance - so it is surprising that up until now there has not been a guide showing people how they should shake hands.

"The rules for men and women are the same: right hand, a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong) in a mid-point position between yourself and the other person, a cool and dry palm, approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigour, held for no longer than two to three seconds, with eye contact kept throughout and a good natural smile with a slow offset with, of course, an appropriate accompanying verbal statement, make up the basic constituent parts for the perfect handshake."

Les Turton, from Chevrolet, added: "It is easy to overlook everyday rituals, but as the handshake is used to complete agreements it is important our staff are well trained so they can pass on trust and reassurance to our customers."


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