13 August 2010

The Perfect Handshake is a Scientific Matter

A Firm Handshake is a Matter of Science
Shake This!
I, for one, am a firm believer in both eye contact and a firm handshake when it comes to maintaining meaningful relationships in both business
and personal spheres. For the longest time, I always had a hunch that there must be something specifically psychological and deeply embedded in man's primitive nature that makes these elements of human communication so important to long lasting and functional interpersonal communication. That's why I am sharing with you an article that i
stumbled up which explains the scientific significance of a firm handshake (we'll get to eye contact in a later post). You see, you can tell a lot about a person from the way that they shake your hand when given the opportunity-or rather, who is the first to initiate this gesture of trust and acknowledgement. You can either shake hands like the Incredible Hulk or like Pee-Wee Herman, but the point is that both of these types of shaking hands would most likely convey a sentiment which you are not intending to extent to another, especially a stranger. If you want to shake hands effectively, you might like to look into the lessons which have been taught by science.
A Hand Shake is a Mathematical Formula
I found that there is actually a mathematical formula which explains the process of shaking another persons hand-and here it is:

Click to
= v (e2 + ve2)(d2) + (cg + dr)2 + p{(42)(4
2)}2 + (vi + t + te)2 + {(42 )(42)}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. [via]

I'm Trying to
Use the PHONE!
If you want to avoid being a Pee Wee Herman (or worst yet, exercise
an obnoxious Incredible Hulk), here's some HowTo tips:
  1. Use the right hand.
  2. Use a complete
    grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong!)
  3. Make sure your
    palm is cool and dry.
  4. Use approximately
    three shakes, with a medium level of vigor.
  5. Hold for no
    longer than 2-3 seconds.
  6. Use eye contact
    and smile naturally!

My History with the Handshake

When I moved from Charleston, SC to Brooklyn, NY back in 2003 and began working in real estate, I was almost immediately confronted with the cultural differences that exist in the ways that other people value or de-value a handshake in the realm of business. For example, in 2003-4 I found myself constantly trying to shake the hands of certain landlords and property managers who are of the Orthodox Jewish faith and found that it was/is less important to them for us to shake hands than it is/was for me. I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around the perceived disrespect that I was receiving and even worse, I felt like they weren't taking me serious. The fact of the matter was they weren't. It had nothing to do with the handshake itself and more to do with our differences in cultural values, but because the value wasn't there, I had to realize that those in this example had their own gestures of acknowledgement and communication which I had to learn if I expected to communicate with them effectively in the realm of business.
Scientists have recently released a mathematical breakdown of the perfect handshake. The University of Manchester researchers discovered that nearly one-in-five people hate the handshake, listing complaints such as sweaty palms, limp wrists, gripping too hard and no eye contact.
Professor Geoffrey Beattie says:
"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.”

A Handshake is Cultural

Without going too deep on this subject, I would like to add just one more note to this discussion regarding the formula above. It is difficult to quantify cultural differences with mathematical formulas such as this, so my advise is to take the equation given not with a grain of salt, but rather as a starting point for figuring out your own working equation. What best works for you in the relationships that you involve yourself in is the
most important aspect for you to consider when shaking hands with new people and engaging in relationships which you hope to maintain. In other words, handshaking (and eye contact) are both subjects which (in
my opinion) are both matters of anthropological investigation as well as mathematical. There may be pieces of the equation above which only you can add, as there are matters which can not be accounted for on a
personal level.
Why is this Relevant to a Real Estate Blog?

You tell me. Why do you think it is important to understand the significance of the handshake you are receiving from your real estate agent, seller of a property or a property manager? I think it should be fairly obvious that the types of messages that you are receiving from these encounters may have a significant impact on the decisions that you make in respect to them and the overall success or failure of such shared adventures.
Do You have any Handshake Stories that you'd like to share? I'd love to read them in the comments

This is a Guest Post from justiNYC, real estate blogger, artist, photographer. Justin Farrow (justiNYC) is originally from Charleston, SC and has spent years blogging about gentrification in North Brooklyn,documenting changes in culture in respect to real estate change. You can find archives of his blog and photography on justiNYC blog.


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