Employer Insights

What's in a Handshake?

Mark Smith Posted by Mark
min read
Pexels Karolina Grabowska 5398881

The handshake is an ancient tradition that conveys trust, respect and agreement. It varies in tradition around the world but is believed to have evolved as a gesture of peace demonstrating that you are holding no weapons. In Australia today business is nearly always sealed with a firm handshake. So what makes the perfect handshake?

  1. Use your right hand

  2. Make sure you have a dry palm. A good tip is to place your palm on your sleeve if you are waiting to greet someone.

  3. Make eye contact and smile.

  4. A firm grip and open your fingers slightly.

  5. A couple of shakes, and don’t go on for more than a few seconds.

A little research reveals many thoughts on the perfect handshake, and one of my favourites is Geoffrey Beattie who, when working with the University of Manchester, created a mathematical formula for the perfect handshake expressed through 12 variables.

PH = √ (e2 + ve2)(d2) + (cg + dr)2 + π{(42)(42)}2 + (vi + t + te)2 + {(42 )(42)}2

  • (e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct), optimum value 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.

Now that’s a handshake!