Opportunities always seem to present themselves when we seek to stretch beyond our comfort zones.
In anticipation of a very early Saturday start of an author’s workshop weekend, I arrived with a tall cup of coffee and walked around the room introducing myself, shaking hands with my fellow attendees.
Starting promptly at 7 am, we took our seats. The agenda for the day was on how to pitch novels to Hollywood producers. One of the gentlemen I met earlier walked onto the stage. Introducing himself as a Hollywood producer, he began speaking on the importance of first impressions, especially the handshake.
From the audience, he asked me to come up to the stage. He reached out to shake my hand. With enthusiasm, I shook his. He stood holding my hand and narrated the handshake. “This is how NOT to shake hands.”
My spirit sank. I was mortified after all my efforts that morning! Then a question I read not long ago came to mind, “How teachable are you right now, Beti?”
The producer continued. “Her approach was a bit high; suggesting taking charge.” We tried a handshake again. I overcompensated and came in too low; suggesting too submissive. I tried again, and again with him, each time the commentary was subpar. Exasperated, I finally asked, “Show me how to do a proper handshake, please!” So, again, we assumed the greeting position, standing face-to-face, eye contact, polite smiles, we engaged in our handshake, equally parallel – sliding into a medium grip proper “how do you do” handshake. The producer broke into a big smile. The audience applauded, and I felt elated. Had I not challenged myself to “stretch” that morning and reach out to meet new people, I would not have learned this valuable lesson about unspoken words and first impressions, by a Hollywood producer and handshake mentor.