Danger! Car Salesmen Now in Possession of "Perfect Handshake" Equation

By Joseph Calamia | July 19, 2010 12:53 pm

handshakeTo seal more car deals, Chevrolet UK looked to arm its salesmen with the perfect weapon of confidence: an unstoppable handshake. Here’s the secret they received from Geoffrey Beattie, Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester:

PH (Perfect Handshake)= √ (e^2 + ve^2)(d^2) + (cg + dr)^2 + π{(4<s>^2)(4<p>^2)}^2 + (vi + t + te)^2 + {(4<c>^2 )(4<du>^2)}^2

We hope (and suspect) the training posters and equation, supposedly meant for Chevrolet-sellers, are meant for publicity and are not a real attempt to improve customer relations.

The variables, as outlined in a Chevrolet press release:

(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 press release details some pretty common sense advice: avoid sweaty palms; don’t squeeze too hard or hold on too long; make eye contact. But putting the formula into action might be tough; if actually meant to inspire confidence (which the release says 70 percent of hand-shakers are lacking), doing the math before every hand-to-hand may instead lead to more perfect head scratching.

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Image: flickr / Aidan Jones

  • Suresh Narayanaswamy

    So let’s shake hands !

  • surge

    So next time someone stretches a hand out, they’ll have to wait till I complete my little calculation

  • Bill S Preston

    Tiresome tiresome nonsense. Please stop this fake formula crapola.

  • http://keehun.com Keehun

    If you simplify the equations out, you get the following:

    PH (Perfect Handshake)= e + ve + d + cg + d + s + p + vi + t + te + c + du

    So… Good eye contact, good verbal greeting, a good Duchenne greeting, etc will result in a perfect handshake.

    Science proves the obvious again! 😉

  • panzer

    they should make one for kissing as well, at least for those of us reading this

  • panzer

    I want to see one for the moonwalk.

  • Nick

    This is just an ad for Chevolet dressed up as if it is science. As described by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science, the marketing people think of something sciency that will help promote their company. They then phone around the Universities until they find someone willing to “work out” an equation and put their name to it.

  • http://www.garthsundem.com Garth Sundem

    Awesome. Simply awesome. I get the impression that all involved are perfectly aware this is a deadpan joke. And I actually think it’s a pretty funny one (okay, okay, I might be biased…). But if you’re gonna write some mad mumbo jumbo scoring the perfect handshake and you want to give it the stamp of mathematical authority, why not a couple integrals….maybe some cube-or-higher roots? Points, though, for the gratuitous use of pi. Woulda scored another couple points for the insertion of “e” and another couple points for “i”.

    Overall, I’d give this 8.728452 out of 10.


  • Me

    Nice… they spend tons of money on the proper/perfect handshake instead of making better vehicles… and I’m sure this is the tax payer money we gave them to keep them from going out of business a year ago.

    What really gets me though… people are dying every day of hunger, yet instead of helping, companies waste money on stupid stuff like this.

  • Jape

    They’re shaking left hands in the picture!!
    That cannot be right according to The equation..


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