The Perfect Handshake

2235525962_6eb16dcc29_o reports that researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a mathematically optimal formula for the perfect handshake, based on 12 key measures, including vigor, eye contact and hand temperature.

"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," he said.

The researcher added he was surprised "that up until now there has not been a guide showing people how they should shake hands," which has been a traditional greeting and a key part of business deals for thousands of years.

Beattie’s steps to the perfect handshake, for both men and women, are: use the right hand; a complete grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong); a cool and dry palm; approximately three shakes, with a medium level of vigor, held for no longer than two to three seconds.

The handshake must also be executed with eye contact kept throughout and a good natural smile with an appropriate verbal statement.

While I do find this research interesting and moderately useful, I was particularly struck by the comment from someone who identified himself only as “Bubb Rubb”:

It’s no wonder that yet another study must be performed for something that we once thought was natural.  Way back when…. a boy learned a proper handshake from his father.  His father learned it from his father.  Things like manners, common courtesy and of all things since the Romans, the handshake, have gone by the wayside.  Pretty soon we will all need a shovel to find our collective bootstraps.

Along these lines, while it’s not entirely scientific, we do have a sort of “formula” for the perfect virtual handshake, i.e., how to introduce yourself and make a good first impression in a forum or group. Again, it should come naturally. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, as readily evidenced by spending any amount of time in discussion forums. And a little refresher helps keep you at the top of your game.

Image credit: thinkpanama

Choosing the right images for your presentations

running shoe shopping (001) by ario_.

One of the keys to a successful presentation is including attractive images which make each of your points more dramatic. There is ample academic evidence that people have better recall for images than words.

When I make a presentation, ideally, I use a graph to represent the data behind a point I’m making. I can’t recommend strongly enough the works of Edward Tufte for advice on how to communicate quantitative data in graphics. However, unfortunately I often don’t have a pertinent dataset. When I don’t have pertinent data to share, I like to use a powerful photograph.

In picking images for a presentation, I find there are two main risks. The first is that I pick an image that is too easy for the audience to understand. An image of people holding hands together to represent teamwork falls into this category; it is trite and almost insulting. The second, and more dangerous, risk is using an image that is too creative and not obviously relevant to the topic. As Strunk & White said in the Elements of Style (paraphrasing), if you’re reading your own work and find a gem of a phrase that sticks out of your text, save it for future future, but delete it from your text as a distraction. My goal in presenting should be to find an image that is clearly relevant, but still clever and not overused.

Another important factor to consider (one that is often neglected) is whether I have the legal right to use the image. Most search engines do not have filters to distinguish between copyrighted and non-copyrighted images. Also, it is often difficult to know whether the image you are using is in its original form, or copied from another site. In addition, the page does not have to list copyright information for a picture to be considered copyrighted.

There are some some safe picture selection options, however. Stock photo services are numerous (e.g., iStockphoto), but they can be costly if you need a lot of images. To find free non-copyrighted images, I recommend and , which restrict your search to images that are licensed for use under Creative Commons. Just tick the appropriate boxes based on whether you plan to modify the image, and/or use it for commercial purposes.  Another great resource for free images is Stock.XCHNG .

UPDATE from TechTracer 10 Most Amazing Google Search Tricks:  

This is a most interesting trick. You might be needing images for various occasions and searching for images is the most difficult thing because what we expect might not be possibly mapped to a query. But Google has a parameter in place for images in situations we need an image which describes a face.

Suppose I search for the term "happy" then the Google results page displays smileys. But I would like to use images of happy people. Even if I choose the term as "happy face" the results don’t show images which contain people. For this there is a parameter "imgtype" which you can use with the URL. For this put in the URL as follows:


(Thanks to Taimur Hassan for his help in researching this post.  Image source: )

How to Write a Resume that Sells (and a Personal Marketing Plan)

While I was in business school, I worked part-time as a resume editor for the schoolÂ’s office of Career Services. During that time, I wrote the guide below on “How to Write a White-Hot Resume and Personal Marketing Plan”. Given the economy, I thought that many people would find this helpful. It’s also very pertinent to people applying for business school.

Resume Guide Teten

New York Events: Best Practices of Venture Capitalists in Identifying Investment Opportunities

I’m starting to release the findings from the large research study I’ve been leading on “Best Practices of Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Firms in Identifying Private Company Investment Opportunities”. My colleagues from Evalueserve and I have interviewed over 100 venture capitalists and private equity investors for this study.

I have two speaking engagements coming up in New York where I’ll be discussing our findings. I hope that you can attend! Of course, I welcome feedback/discussion.

Feb. 19, 6:30pm: Israeli Business Forum
1500 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY

Feb. 24, 6:30pm: MIT Enterprise Forum,
100 Park Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY

Among the issues I’ll discuss:
– How are you positioning yourself to become a company`s preferred investor?
– In the current tough climate, how can you lower your deal origination costs?
– What does research on deal-origination indicate are the primary sources of deal flow for institutional investors?
– What are you doing to identify companies that might be interested in being approached?
– What are the earmarks of a potential investment opportunity?
– How are you systematically identifying industries/situations in which you may be able to create new companies, rather than find existing companies?
– How do you increase your inflow of useful referrals?
– What is the best way to make warm cold calls?

I have attached the draft slides below:

How to Squeeze Maximum Value from Business School

A little while ago, I gave a speech at NYU Stern Business School on “How to Squeeze Maximum Value from Business School: Leverage Your Education to Accelerate Your Career”. How can you maximize the benefits of all the years and all the money that you invested in your business education?

I prepared the Powerpoint for my personal reference, for my friends starting school, and for any of my future children who may go to business school. My main focus is business students, but the principles I discuss are relevant regardless of the exact subject you are studying.

To prepare this paper I interviewed many of my MBA classmates on what were the most effective uses of their time during school. I also probed to learn about what were the least effective uses of their time.

I thought that you might find the slides, below, of interest.

The Complete Vision Board Kit

I first learned of vision boards a few years ago, but I never actually started using them myself until this year. They were discussed briefly in The Secret, and Oprah featured them in her follow-up show, The Secret Behind The Secret. She made headlines with her vision board on election day when she told an NYC radio station that she had been planning for Obama to be elected since February using vision boards:

I was speaking with Michelle [Obama] and Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver – we were all doing a big rally out in California. At the end of the rally Michelle Obama said something powerful: "and I want you to leave here and envision Barack Obama taking the oath of office." I created a vision board. I had never had a vision board before. I came home, I got me a board and put Barack Obama’s picture on it and I put a picture of my dress I want to wear to the inauguration.

I have to confess to being a closet skeptic. I believe in science, not magic. But I’ve also been confronted with so many experiences throughout my life that it’s impossible for me not to believe. I’ve seen Law of Attraction in action in my life, in extraordinary ways. But I still always had a disconnect between my left-brain, logical view and my right-brain reality.

Over the past two years, though, I’ve had the pleasure of becoming good friends with John Assaraf,  best-selling author of The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life (among others) and teacher from the movie The Secret. If you saw the film you’ll never forget the story of how John discovered the power of vision boards — and how it started him on a quest that continues to this day. Watch the clip at right as he retells the story to Larry King, or read John’s vision board story in more detail.

For the past 25 years, John has studied quantum physics and neuroscience, and then applied these findings to help people achieve their goals in everyday life. Drawing upon his unique knowledge, John has developed a process that helps people live the life of their dreams — and now he’s sharing it in his newest book, The Complete Vision Board Kit™.

Now anyone can cut out a bunch of pictures and paste them on a piece of posterboard, but will that actually help you manifest those visions in your life?

Yes, actually it will. Even just the act of creating the vision board helps focus your subconscious. Keeping it somewhere where you can see it on a regular basis helps even more.

There’s more to it than just pasting pictures up, however. You must understand how to activate the power of your unconscious brain to draw towards you everything you truly want.

The Complete Vision Board Kit fully explains this process. And it’s actually much more than a book: It comes with everything you need to create your own life-changing vision board: a book, a DVD, and a sample vision board. This kit will walk you step-by-step through exactly how to create a vision board AND retrain your brain to actually start believing that you can achieve all your goals and dreams.

John’s work has helped me bridge the gap between science and faith and allowed me to make quantum leaps in the results I’m getting from my personal development practices (I told him The Answer could have been subtitled "Law of Attraction for the Left Brain").

Want to see my vision board? Personally, I’m not a big fan of paper, and I work at my computer 90% of the time, so I’ve created a "virtual vision board", which I have available as a PowerPoint slideshow, and I’ve also set up as my screensaver, so it automatically kicks on after 3 minutes of inactivity, presenting me with these images throughout the day. I’ve saved it to SlideShare and embedded it below:

Do you use vision boards? Tell your vision board story in the comments
below. Feel free to include pictures if you’ve got ’em.