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How to perform the “Perfect Handshake” according to math experts, and other handshaking stats

The Secret Handshake
The Secret Handshake

Howie Mandel doesn’t shake hands.

Donald Trump tries not to shake hands.

World leaders are judged on who they shake hands with, and who shakes hands (or not) with them.

Yes, shaking hands is definitely an art, and the folks at CHEVROLET UK wanted to figure out exactly how to shake hands the right way, as a good solid handshake is often the key to closing a new car sale.

So they came up with THE GUIDE TO THE PERFECT HANDSHAKE, and even commissioned a university professor to come up with a mathematical equation to putting that perfect handshake together.

PH (Perfect Handshake)= √ (e^2 + ve^2)(d^2) + (cg + dr)^2 + π{(4^2)(4^2)}^2 + (vi + t + te)^2 + {(4^2 )(4^2)}^2

where each of the twelve letters in the equation represent the primary measures needed to convey respect and trust to the handshake recipient.

  • (e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct).  Ideal value = 5
  • (ve) is verbal greeting (1=totally inappropriate; 5=totally appropriate).  Ideal value = 5
  • (d) is Duchenne smile – smiling in eyes and mouth, plus symmetry on both sides of face, and slower offset (1=totally non-Duchenne smile (false smile); 5=totally Duchenne).  Ideal value = 5
  • (cg) completeness of grip (1=very incomplete; 5=full).  Ideal value = 5
  • (dr) is dryness of hand (1=damp; 5=dry).  Ideal value = 4
  • (s) is strength (1= weak; 5=strong).  Ideal value =3
  • (p) is position of hand (1=back towards own body; 5=other person’s bodily zone).  Ideal value = 3
  • (vi) is vigour (1=too low/too high; 5=mid).  Ideal value = 3
  • (t) is temperature of hands (1=too cold/too hot; 5=mid).  Ideal value = 3
  • (te) is texture of hands (5=mid; 1=too rough/too smooth).  Ideal value = 3
  • (c) is control (1=low; 5=high).  Ideal value = 3
  • (du) is duration (1= brief; 5=long).  Ideal value = 3

It should go without saying that handshakers should avoid the following, which lead to bad handshaking:

  • sweaty palms
  • don’t squeeze too hard or offer a “dead fish”
  • don’t prolong the handshake to the point where the two of you would be considered as holding hands
  • don’t run the Perfect Handshake math in your head as you’re about to shake hands with someone

If you follow the 12 Perfect Handshake steps listed in the equation, you should be able to successfully avoid these TOP TEN HANDSHAKE TURNOFFS, as reported in a handshaking survey:

  1. Sweaty palms (38% of respondents said it was their top handshaking turn-off)
  2. Loose grip / limp wrist (35%)
  3. Gripping too hard (7%)
  4. Not making eye contact (5%)
  5. Shaking too vigorously (4%)
  6. Shaking for too long (4%)
  7. Standing too close (2%)
  8. Shaking with the left hand (2%)
  9. Not shaking for long enough (1%)
  10. Hot hands (1%)

Some other handshaking statistics include:

  • 73% of British respondents said handshaking is an important social gesture
  • People in London shake 5.4 hands per week on average
  • On average, men shake 6.2 hands per week, while women shake just 2.6 hands per week.
  • 32% of women said they didn’t shake any hands in a week, compared to just 6% of men who were similarly lacking in handshaking experience.
  • 17% of men and 2% of women reported to be frequent handshakers, considered to be more than 10 times a week
  • 42% of men said that the “dead fish”/loose grip and limp wrist were the worst handshake offenses. 50% of women disliked sweaty palms the most.
  • 57% of men said they enjoyed shaking hands.  Only 29% of women said they liked it as well.

And the current longest handshake world record was set on November 21, 2009 – it lasted 15 hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds.  As long as you don’t mind holding hands with someone for that long, that should be a relatively easy record to break for anyone willing to give it a shot.