You do it 15,000 times in you lifetime, but what is the initial impression you leave with the other person?

Wimpy-limp wrist. Damp fish and clammy. Overly aggressive. Creepy-hold-on-too-long.  Insincere.  All this conveyed in less than 2 seconds.

It has been traditional greeting, a symbol of peace and a key part of business deals for thousands of years.  But today scientists announced that they have created a formula for the perfect handshake after it was revealed that more than 70 per cent of people said they lacked confidence when it came to performing the gesture, according to a survey for Chevrolet. 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.’

Another poll found 19 per cent hated the act and were unsure how to do it properly. The biggest problems were sweaty palms, limp wrist, 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.’

How to do the perfect handshake

  • Use right hand, a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong)
  • Ensure fingers are under the receiving palm
  • Position hand 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
  • Hold for no longer than two to three seconds
  • Keep eye contact throughout



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