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Author Topic: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!  (Read 3777 times)

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Offline Rob

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Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« on: April 26, 2010, 10:07:06 PM »
As some of you know a spirited discussion on our forums led me to seriously ponder how important handshaking is to convention attendees. So much so that I created a survey and a front page article about it.

Our good friends at The Webcomic List promoted the survey and it was even mentioned in a Fleen article.

And now it's time to go over the results.

While I'll offer a small opinion at the end of the results I'm almost more interested in what you folks out there think. So for the most part I'm going to let the results speak for themselves. So lets get to it.

Question #1:
On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is a handshake to you with one being not important at all and ten being extremely important.


Question #2:
When you meet someone new, someone you admire, someone you haven't seen in a long time or someone you share an affiliation or vocation with do you expect at some point to shake their hand?


Question #3:
If you put your hand out to someone and they politely refused to shake your hand how would you feel?


Question #4:
If the person refusing to shake your hand explained that they weren't shaking hands because they did not want to get sick how would you react?


Question #5:
If the person who refused to shake your hand had given prior notice to your meeting that he/she was not shaking hands and had a sign up and a shirt on explaining that he/she was not shaking hands when you met, would that change your answer to question #4?


Question #6:
If you answered "Yes" to question #5 please answer how you would feel if the person refusing the handshake gave prior notice and had a sign up and shirt on advertising the no handshake policy.


Question #7:
If the person who refused your handshake explained that they were not shaking hands because they were sick and did not wish for you to catch the illness how would you feel?


Question #8:
Would you shake hands with someone if you were sick?


Question #9:
If an alternative to handshaking was suggested for the event  that did not involve human contact (a salute or wave of some kind) would you feel obligated to offer that greeting or would you still prefer shaking hands?


Question #10:
If you attended an event where the organizers had imposed a rule of no human contact how would you respond?


So that's it. In case you were wondering, in the result images the three columns represent the possible responses (which were written by me with the help of folks here in the community), the number of respondents and the percentage of the total that number of respondents represents in that order from left to right.

The response was not great. We had a bit under a hundred people take the survey which means that all of this says a lot more about my ability to get the word out than anything else. Perhaps our resident statistics expert, DrBlkKnight will weigh in on the discussion in the forums as I'd like to hear what someone with his training has to say on the subject. And my one statistics course in college tells me that the more I extrapolate from these results the more unreliable the results would become (for example applying these results to a convention with eight thousand attendees would mean I would be extrapolating the results by an order of times ten with the results becoming more unreliable with each order of magnitude).

Also there were several people who forgot they checked "No" on question five so the results of question six are a little borked.

But I don't feel that invalidates the results.

Especially since they confirm what my brain was telling me all along (isn't it nice to endorse results that confirm what you believed all along? LOL).

It has always been my belief that handshakes are unimportant to some, very important to others and somewhat important to others with varying degrees and circumstances affecting that importance.

The one takeaway I get from this whole thing is that there is a statistically significant portion of people to whom handshakes are very important or somewhat important and that denying them the human contact, even for a good reason will lead to... well as you can see from the results; some negative feelings.

Whether or not those negative feelings would result in real effects to a webcomicker's fan base or business success... well that's a survey for another day. But the same logic that tells me that handshakes are important also tells me that it would; on both accounts.

I think perhaps most telling of all is that last question where 17% of respondents stated they would not even attend a convention that set rules that forbade human contact. If that percentage is even marginally close to the way most con attendees feel the results of such a rule could be quite bad.

I'l love to hear your thoughts on these results.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 10:13:25 PM by Rob »

Offline Rob

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 10:18:08 PM »
I'd like to thank Gibson for his proposed response to question #4. At the time I thought it redundant and unneeded and I was obviously completely wrong which tells me I should have just begged him to write the damn survey for me.

Thanks man.  ;)

Offline ran

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 10:48:28 PM »
Quote
The one takeaway I get from this whole thing is that there is a statistically significant portion of people to whom handshakes are very important or somewhat important and that denying them the human contact, even for a good reason will lead to... well as you can see from the results; some negative feelings.

Whether or not those negative feelings would result in real effects to a webcomicker's fan base or business success... well that's a survey for another day. But the same logic that tells me that handshakes are important also tells me that it would; on both accounts.

I think perhaps most telling of all is that last question where 17% of respondents stated they would not even attend a convention that set rules that forbade human contact. If that percentage is even marginally close to the way most con attendees feel the results of such a rule could be quite bad.

I'm not entirely sure how you managed to get that out of your survey--time and time again, the 'I don't really care' or the 'I'd respect their wishes' or 'I'd understand' or 'I'd do the no-contact greeting' was favoured by the majority of of people surveyed.

Offline Rob

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 11:21:16 PM »
I think you are missing my point and I'm not really sure how I can make it any clearer. For me the people who didn't care or were easily appeased by whatever reason the handshake was refused were never really all that important to me. If they don't care than no matter what happens (in relation to human contact) they will have a positive fan experience. It was the people who care that matter to me. To what degree do they care and what are the feelings they experience when they are refused that human contact?

If 10,000 people attend a convention and of those ten thousand you as a web comic exhibitor meet all ten thousand, and assuming these results can scale to that many people (I don't know that they can and would not suggest that they do) then even if the majority of the people... I think it's around 60 - 40 in percentages in favor of people who are less inclined towards handshaking (although question #4 is 52% would have some sort of negative reaction to no handshaking as opposed to 48% not caring or honoring the person who didn't want to shake hands wishes).

What this is about is not the 60% who don't care but the 40% who do. The reaction may be mild in most cases to severe in a smaller percentage but the point is you are going to anger, disappoint or shame some people if you refuse to shake hands. If you say it is because you don't want to get sick it only more clearly divides respondents with many of them thinking poorly of you. If you say it is because you already are sick then it swings a good deal more in favor of the person refusing handshakes but a significant portion are still disappointed that they can't get one and a small percentage are still negatively affected in other ways.

If you make it a rule of a con that there is no human contact a significant percentage won't even go to the con and a nearly equal percentage would claim to disregard the rules.

The numbers are right there and if one is to believe the numbers at all then one has to weigh carefully the decision not to shake hands versus chancing getting sick because the numbers indicate that a significant portion of fans will be negatively effected by not getting a handshake regardless of the circumstances.

Now whether or not you consider these percentages significant or whether or not you think the risk of getting sick is worth the possible negative circumstances or whether or not you believe the negative circumstances will affect your fan base or business success in any way... these are questions I can't answer for someone else. Only you can decide. I'm simply offering the data; and the way I interpret it just reinforces my belief that it is not worth it to refuse handshakes. That the potential for damage to business and fan levels is more of a risk than I would be willing to take even if I got sick after cons.

But that's just my take. I know from experience that numbers can lie and with a response this small one could argue that the whole survey is invalid. In about a year when my webcomic numbers are back up where I used to have them I will definitely consider running this survey again to see if I can garner a bigger response. But for now I will take the numbers the way I see them. Everyone else can do as they will.

Offline ran

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 11:26:47 PM »
Oh, I'm sorry. I must have been mistaken. I was under the impression that your original intent with this poll was verify that most people felt the same way about handshakes that you do, which, if we go by the results of this poll, is untrue. My bad.

Offline Rob

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 11:56:45 PM »
Oh goodness no! That was never my intent. There was never any question in my mind that a significant portion of people would not care one way or the other. That was clearly indicated by both the discussions on the forum and the early results trending. My interest always lay with the people who "do" care in some fashion or another and what the repercussions of denying them the handshake they seek might be.

Offline LegendWoodsman

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Re: Is Handshaking Important? Survey Results!
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2010, 08:36:18 PM »
The results for question ten reminded me of the 80-20 rule. It's possible that 80% of the handshaking done at a convention is done by only 20% of the convention-goers. If the same rule is applied to sales, 80% of the sales at the con are done by 20% of the attendees. I'd like to see a Venn diagram of the overlap of handshakers to money-makers (or money-spenders... I desperately wanted it to rhyme).

Nonetheless, let's just say that 17% is still quite significant a percentage.