If science has been able to analyze what the perfect hug, it should come as no surprise that he did the same with the handshake. Now that the pandemic is somewhat more relaxed, there are those who dare to greet like this again, instead of with elbow shocks. In fact, in countries like Spain, where it is customary to greet by cheek kisses, many people think that everything that has happened to us and that continues to happen to us should serve as a signal to put aside this greeting, sometimes uncomfortable, and replace it with the handshake. But how should we practice it to make it a perfect handshake?
The truth is that, as with the hug, it will depend a lot on who squeezes your hand and under what circumstances. As much as it is practiced, if the greeting goes after the delivery of a settlement, the other person may not value it as something pleasant.
But, putting this aside, it is true that some psychologists have been in charge of giving the guidelines for perfecting it. In fact, one of them has even established a formula to assess whether a handshake is more or less ideal. It is still a curiosity, but let’s see what it consists of.
The perfect handshake formula
In 2010, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Manchester, Geoffrey beattie, enunciated a formula to calculate how close a greeting is to the perfect handshake.
It includes twelve parameters: eye contact (e), verbal greeting (ve), full hand grip (cg), hand dryness (dr), grip strength (s), hand position (p), vigor (vi), temperature
The conclusion of the calculations with this formula is that a perfect handshake should be done with the right hand, pressing firmly, but not too hard, with a fresh and dry palm, by means of approximately three shakes and with a duration of no more than 2 or 3 seconds. All of this should also be done by maintaining eye contact, with a natural smile and an appropriate verbal statement.
These conclusions are reached through experiments in which the reaction of volunteers to different types of handshakes is analyzed. In fact, Beattie has not been the only one to carry out this type of research. For example, in 2020 It was analyzed how one of the more than three seconds.
An analysis was done frame by frame of several pairs of volunteers making different greetings. Thus, it was seen that when the duration was excessive increased anxiety after it. Furthermore, the participants smiled less, resulting in less interactional enjoyment.
Why do we greet like this?
Beyond knowing the perfect handshake, is knowing why we greet each other in this way.
Actually, it’s a very old greeting, which dates back to pre-Roman times, when it was part of those known as hospitality pacts. This was a deeply rooted custom among western Indo-European peoples and on the Iberian Peninsula. It consisted in the realization of friendship agreements between people or entire peoples, which were sealed by means of bronze pieces, called teseras, in which precisely some holding hands.
Later, in the Middle Ages, rival knights greeted each other in this way, using the hand opposite to the flank on which they carried the sword, so that in this way they ensured that the other would not take advantage of the position to attack.
Today, although it depends a lot on each culture, it is quite widespread throughout the world.
As for the reasons why we shook hands to say hello, in 2015 it was published A study very curious about it. In it, scientists from Israel’s Weissman Institute observed that volunteers who clasped hands in their experiments after they smelled them unconsciously. This leads to think that evolutionarily it could be a way of sending social chemical signals to enhance the interaction between individuals. Something like when some animals mark the territory.
But, without a doubt, if there is an area in which this greeting predominates, it is that of the business. For this reason, in 2019 it was published another study, based on several experiments, in which it was shown that in meetings in which participants shake hands at the beginning they are later more likely to cooperate with each other. Moreover, in the last experiment, it was found that if they greeted each other in this way, it was more likely that one person would help another, even if that relationship involves harm to their own interest.
In short, the perfect handshake It seems to have very specific parameters, but these are not everything. Showing your eagerness to cooperate to a new partner, your father-in-law or your boss will always be positive with a good handshake. At least that way we will show that, for the moment, we have no intention of drawing the sword. It’s a good start.