The Surprising Discovery of my Waving Experiment

I’m doing a waving experiment while I walk and have made a surprising discovery.

We live in the country. Sometimes I don’t see any cars. But during “rush hour,” I wave several times.

4 waves:

I employ four waving techniques.

  1. No wave.
  2. Pump wave: jerking my hand skyward and yanking it down. It says, “I’m in a hurry.”
  3. Brief beauty queen wave: lifting my hand and gently turning my hand in the air, briefly.
  4. I’m glad to see you happy wave: lifting my hand and waving vigorously.

Facial expressions:

Not only am I using various waving techniques, my experiment includes three facial expressions.

  1. No smile.
  2. Grin, but no teeth.
  3. Smile and show teeth.

Results of wave research:

#1. No wave from me – fewer waves from drivers.

#2. The more vigorous my wave – the more vigorous their wave, generally speaking.

#3. Waves with smiles elicited more smiles.

Observation #1: The quality and extent of my influence depends on my vigor and vitality.

Observation #2: As the days pass, some drivers have seen me several times. They wave and smile before I wave and smile.

Drivers can be trained to wave and smile simply by example.


One old fart wasn’t smiling before I smiled and waved. He didn’t smile after I smiled and waved. However, he lifted one finger off the steering wheel as he passed.

Observation: Some people are influence resistant. It doesn’t matter what you do, they won’t respond. It’s best to forget them and move on.


I experimented to see if I could influence others but ended up influencing myself.

Happiness is the result of physical action. The moment I wave and smile, the happier I feel.

Vigor and vitality multiply impact.

The more vigorously I wave and smile, the happier I feel.

Influence is about who you are and what YOU do.

What are the implications of this “research” for your leadership?