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6 Seconds to a Better Relationship

6 Seconds to a Better Relationship


<5 minutes

Purpose/Objectives - Quick Description

Using the science of oxytocin and changing the way participants shake hands, you can double the relationship quality in the room.


You get strength from others! By shaking hands for 6 seconds, you dramatically raise oxytocin levels in your body which is the ‘trust’ chemical in your brain. Using this chemical as impetus for this exercise, all you need to do is:

  1. Ask the participants to stand up
  2. Tell them to turn to their neighbor and shake their hands and say hi!
  3. Now offer to double the power of their relationships
  4. Now tell the participants to shake their partner’s hands for a full 6 seconds.
  5. Give the participants an explanation of why the 6 second handshake is important. See Cool Possibilities/Options below for references
  6. Optional - ask the participants to utilize this chemical infusion and start another People Science exercise or launch right into the content of the gathering


Cool Possibilities/Options

  • Don’t shake hands at the end of a business deal:
  • Famous author on the subject:
  • Encourage participants to continue using this technique throughout the gathering. They probably won’t, so keep bringing it up!
  • Read this to become an expert in the topic:


<5 minutes, Chemicals, front of the room, hands, happiness, reactions, smiling, touch, trust, uncomfortable


There is no expected origin of this exercise. Multiple authors and psychologists have documented this reaction. Jane McGonigal made this more popular with a recent TED Talk

What’s a Maker?



  1. A simple exercise two or more people can do to develop a stronger relationship
  2. A way to avoid endless talk about being busy and the weather
  3. A catalyst to communities that can make an impact

Often times mistaken as an ‘icebreaker’ or ‘exercise’