SCIENTISTS CREATE FORMULA FOR PERFECT HANDSHAKE

It has heralded peace between nations, begun relationships and sealed deals for thousands of years, but new research out today reveals that as many as two in three people (70 per cent) have a crisis of confidence when it comes to performing the act of a human handshake.

Despite the average person shaking hands nearly 15,000 times in a lifetime, one in five (19 per cent) admit they hate the act of the handshake and are unsure how to do it properly, regularly making a handshake faux pas such as having sweaty palms, squeezing too hard or holding on too long.  Over half of people (56 per cent) say they have been on the receiving end of an unpleasant handshake experience in the past month alone.

However, from today, help is literally at hand as scientists have created a mathematical formula for the perfect handshake taking into account the twelve primary measures needed to convey respect and trust to the recipient.

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    PH = √ (e2 + ve2)(d2) + (cg + dr)2 + π{(4<s>2)(4<p>2)}2 + (vi + t + te)2 + {(4<c>2 )(4<du>2)}2

(e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct) 5; (ve) is verbal greeting (1=totally inappropriate; 5=totally appropriate) 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) 5; (cg) completeness of grip (1=very incomplete; 5=full) 5; (dr) is dryness of hand (1=damp; 5=dry) 4; (s) is strength (1= weak; 5=strong) 3; (p) is position of hand (1=back towards own body; 5=other person's bodily zone) 3; (vi) is vigour (1=too low/too high; 5=mid) 3; (t) is temperature of hands (1=too cold/too hot; 5=mid) 3; (te) is texture of hands (5=mid; 1=too rough/too smooth) 3; (c) is control (1=low; 5=high) 3; (du) is duration (1= brief; 5=long) 3.

The mathematical formula has been developed for car brand Chevrolet as part of a handshake training guide for its staff to prepare them ahead of the launch of the new 5 Year Promise offer, which aims to offer peace of mind and reassurance to its customers.

Professor Geoffrey Beattie, Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, who devised the formula comments: “The human handshake is one of the most crucial elements of impression formation and is used as a source of information for making a judgement 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 comments: “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 and can pass on trust and reassurance to our customers.  The simple five-step guide for the perfect handshake should mean they are well prepared ahead of the introduction of our new 5 Year Promise ensuring all our deals are concluded in the proper way.” 

The Chevrolet 5 Year Promise is the best ever combined warranty and aftersales package in the UK.  It extends to every model in the value-for-money car manufacturer’s line-up and includes 5 year warranty, breakdown cover, servicing, MoT test warranty and annual vehicle health checks.

TOP TEN HANDSHAKE TURN OFFS

1. Sweaty palms (38 per cent say it is their top turn off)

2. Loose grip / limp wrist (35 per cent)

3. Gripping too hard (7 per cent)

4. Not making eye contact (5 per cent)

5. Shaking too vigorously (4 per cent)

6. Shaking for too long (4 per cent)

7. Standing too close (2 per cent)

8. Shaking with the left hand (2 per cent)

9. Not shaking for long enough (1 per cent)

10. Hot hands (1 per cent)

*Other (1 per cent)

REGIONAL AND GENDER DIFFERENCES

Although three quarters of Brits (73 per cent) say the handshake is an important social gesture in the modern world, 22 per cent of those polled in East Anglia want to get rid of the custom.

People polled in London and the South West said they shake 5.4 hands a week on average, while East Anglia came out the lowest with the average person only shaking 3.6 hands a week.  South Westerners also said they were the most confident when it came to delivering handshakes (34 per cent are completely confident).  In contrast, 5 per cent of people in the North East have no confidence at all in their handshakes.

Men shake on average 6.2 hands a week, compared to only 2.6 for women.  A third of women (32 per cent) said that the number of hands they shook per week was zero, compared to just one in 20 (6 per cent) of men.  One in five men (17 per cent) shake hands more than ten times a week, compared to less than one in 40 (2 per cent) women.

This could be because over half of men (57 per cent) said they enjoyed the act of shaking hands, while less than one in three women (29 per cent) said the same.  When faced with an outstretched hand, half of women (50 per cent) said sweaty palms were the biggest turn-off while only a third of men (32 per cent) agreed.  Men identified having a limp wrist or loose grip was the worst handshake faux pas (42 per cent).

FIVE FAMOUS HANDSHAKES IN HISTORY

Archaeological ruins show that handshaking was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th Century BC as a gesture of peace by demonstrating the hand held no weapon.  Researchers credit Sir Walter Raleigh with introducing the act to the Western World during the late 16th Century.  John F. Kennedy thought it so important he commissioned an entire study to determine the most effective handshake he should use when meeting other world leaders.

THE WORLD’S LONGEST HANDSHAKE

On 21 November 2009, Americans Matthew Rosen and Joe Ackerman broke the Guinness World Record for the world's longest handshake, shaking hands for 15 hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds.

JOHN HOWARD AND MARK LATHAM

In 2004 Australian Prime Minster John Howard had lost public trust going into a general election.   His main political opponent was a newcomer called Mark Latham.  A few days before the election John Howard and Mark Latham met at a radio interview and Latham shook the Prime Minister’s hand in a very aggressive manner – pulling him close and staring him down. Footage of the handshake spread across the internet.  Although public opinion of John Howard was at an all time low, people thought Mark Latham was a bully for the way he “roughed up” the PM.   Latham lost the election.   After the election the polls showed that the major reason people voted against Latham was because of his overly aggressive handshake.

FRANKIE VALLI AND BOB GAUDIO

Singer Valli and songwriter Gaudio were the driving force behind The Four Seasons, one of the world’s most successful pop groups, with hits including Walk Like A Man, December 1963 (Oh What A Night) and Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You had a deal based on a handshake – the “Jersey way” as Valli put it.

BRITISH AND FRENCH CHANNEL TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

In December 1990, British and French workers finally met each other underneath the Channel for the first time. The footage of firm handshakes taking place through a narrow gap in the seabed was broadcast around the world and heralded the final phase of construction on the ambitious project.

WAYNEBRIDGEAND JOHN TERRY

The most famous handshake of recent times is one that didn’t happen. Convention dictated that Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge and Chelsea captain John Terry shook hands ahead of their match earlier this year, but following the love scandal that rocked their private lives, Bridge chose to very publically snub the outstretched hand of Terry. Chelsea went on to take a 4-2 hammering from Manchester City.

ENDS

For more information and to request a copy of the “Guide for the Perfect Handshake” please contact the Chevrolet press office at Mischief PR on 020 7100 9999 / 07736 473 462 or chevrolet@mischiefpr.com

Notes to Editors

Average number of handshakes is 4.78 shakes a week.

14,916 based on 248.6 shakes a year for 60 years (average life expectancy in 2010 according to latest ONS figures is 79.9 years).

REGIONAL BREAKDOWN

Regions that lack confidence in the act of the handshake

  • East Anglia = 76 per cent
  • Scotland= 75 per cent
  • North East = 75 per cent
  • Yorkshire & Humber = 74 per cent
  • North West= 72 per cent
  • East Midlands= 71 per cent
  • London = 69 per cent
  • Wales = 69 per cent
  • South East = 68 per cent
  • West Midlands= 67 per cent
  • South West = 66 per cent

Regions that shake hands the most (per week)

  • South West = 5.4 handshakes
  • London = 5.4
  • South East = 4.82
  • Scotland= 4.75
  • Yorkshire & Humber = 4.73
  • North West= 4.6
  • West Midlands= 4.6
  • Wales = 4.08
  • East Midlands= 3.89
  • North East = 3.63
  • East Anglia = 3.61

15/07/10

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Scientists create formula for perfect handshake

Scientists create formula for perfect handshake

   
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