Thursday, August 30, 2007

Director of First Impressions

Almost one month ago (to the day) I started a new job working at the Spruill Gallery in North Atlanta. My first day was uncomfortably enough not my predecessors last day. As I was moving in my new Rolodex, calendar and all of my other accoutrement's the young man was job hunting for a position in California, where he was following his girlfriend as she began graduate school. While scrolling through potential job opportunities one popped out to both of us: Director of First Impressions. Now while this was merely their clever way of saying Receptionist, it got me to thinking: If I were the director of first impressions what exactly would this entail? Dressing appropriately was an obvious one, saying hello and smiling until my jaw hurt more than likely. The list goes on. First impressions are a big deal. I suppose technically since I am the first person one sees when they enter the gallery, that is my job now. I am a Director of First Impressions. Suddenly my new job became much more daunting.

Last weekend, my friend Sara (the same mentioned in the previous entry on movie watching) and I were brunching at Highland Bakery to do gather material for her new endeavor, Howdy Foodie, the Atlanta Food Guide for the GastroVegetarian. While enjoying our delicious assorted muffin basket an old acquaintance of mine from high school strolled over to our table. Introductions were exchanged, hands were shaken, and then he left us to return to his own brunch partners. After he left Sara looked at me and said in a very concerned manner, "He has a very weak handshake." Needless to say this spawned the conversation topic of the importance of a good handshake.

Handshakes are one of the most important ways of judging a person at first introduction. A weak handshake is is too passive and suggests the person can't hold their own, even in a simple grip with another. Too firm of a handshake is overpowering and brutish. The ideal handshake is firm, not too long but not so short that it seems like you are running away from your fellow hand-shakers embrace. I have always prided myself on having a good handshake and have never been concerned about the way other people will perceive me based upon it. What about Ben though? He could destroy any opportunity for being taken seriously in the professional world with the dead fish of a hand he is passing off as an introduction.

As the Director of First Impressions I began to think about this seriously. Would I hire someone with a weak handshake over someone with an assuring, self-possessed demeanor about their hand. Probably not. The first handshake is like the first kiss. If you can't get it right the first time, you probably are not going to get an opportunity for the second. So I say this as a word of caution: Be confident in your handshake and fear not the grip of another's hand.

1 comment:

helen said...

for some reason wherever I travel I continuously get weak handshakes. I like 'em firm!

so here is a hello and a handshake to m' lady of first impressions!