The Handshake Seals the Contract
The handshake is way up there with the kiss, the nod the head shake and the wave as a universal body language. I have shook millions of hands in my lifetime and have based some first impressions on the strength of a handshake.
Here's my take on what certain types of handshakes are actually saying:
Palm tilted down – leader, boss, dominator, master. This person would like to exhibit authority at first contact. If the shakers' hands are both tilted down, it would be a classic chicken game of who relents and tilts their palm upwards.
Palm tilted up – offering help, congenial, befriending, engaging. These shakers may need something from you or may just be saying I'm here to be of help and service
Palm straight – I am your equal so you better treat me like one!
Sandwich shake - one hand shaking, the other cupping the hand being shaken (like a sandwich) is saying I am so glad we've finally met, or I empathize and I care (politician's favorite)
Just-the-fingers handshake – either reserved and shy or disgusted, won't meet you halfway, don't really want to have anything to do with you
All-the-way-through – I mean business, you can't mess with me
Hand grab, tight squeeze and lingering – I want you (either on my team or on my bed)
Several vigorous pumps – “Oh I think we're going to like each other (or not)”, or “...expect me to always be in your face from now on...” - I guess ideally, three pumps should suffice less than that appears impatient
Handshake with matching pat on the shoulder – congratulations or good job
A firm handshake keeps me on guard but an overly tight handshake scares me a little. Clammy hands put me off but real soft palms (especially in men) is interesting to me or at least makes me think of hand creams. Eye contact is crucial because it conveys sincerity. I might have misjudged the meanings of the handshakes (I'm sure I have and please feel free to correct me) but my signature handshake is all the way through and firm with a little squeeze and three pumps (yes I mentally count them) plus of course the eye contact. The impression I want to make is that I am here now but I can't guarantee I'll stick around.