The Handshake

Posted on 19/02/2011


Is there a formula for the scientifically perfect handshake? Researchers at the University of Manchester in England seem to feel so. The researchers have turned their attention to uncovering the perfect handshake, one of the oldest, most common social customs on the planet, and a key factor in many first impressions. The scientists identified 12 key factors that people consider in a good handshake, including vigor, eye contact, hand temperature, positioning, and the length of the handshake.

According to Professor Geoffrey Beattie, head of psychological sciences at the University of Manchester, the perfect handshake sounds something like this:

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. Sounds about right, but sometimes there are some cultural implications you may have to contend with – depending on the region of the world you are shaking hands…my African brothers have a special African “slap, grab, crutch, and grip and click” that no white man has ever been able to simulate.

Add to that, a tip I learned from an older gent: when shaking a man’s hand, tilt it just a little so your palm is facing down a bit, and his up a bit – this is a powerful subliminal message of domination.

But I wouldn’t recommend that all the time – when I shake someone’s hand, I try to convey, “Hi, nice to meet you.” Not, “Hi, I’m better than you.”

…And why do guys feel that a limp handshake with a woman is appropriate? I’m sure most ladies will accept that as proof that there are many other things that are limp about such guys!

Ok, so let me leave you with a few fast and sharp rules on various types of handshake and: How Not To Give a Handshake.

Don’t give a bone crusher – there’s no point trying to prove you are “Macho Man.”

Or don’t misfire – whereby your fingers don’t quite come together like they should but you stick it out anyway to avoid looking awkward.

Don’t give a Politician handshake, by shaking people with both hands – those who shake with both hands are trying to sell you something.

Don’t stand too close – people who stand too close during a handshake probably want a hug!

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