#NLEDNoviceNelly: There’s Protocol, then there’s Nelly

200 136 Next Level Event Design

Novice Nelly: She’s our witty, fun, yet fictitious, team member that takes us on her journey of #epicfails and reminds us we are all in this together. Enjoy!

SoooooOhmigod, have you heard the joke about the Production Assistant and a Rabbi walking into a conference? Ummm, yeah… #ThatSoNoviceNelly!

#Truestory, a few jobs back, I was working on a conference series with a Jewish foundation. #ImNotJewish #totesnaïve There I was, meeting an orthodox Rabbi for the first time, and what did I do? Like any friendly and positive person who believes friendship knows no cultural or political boundaries, I exuberantly extended my hand for a handshake. The Rabbi recoiled in horror. Everyone around us was startled while I stood frozen and confused and like, “What the H just happened!?” #protocolfail #myfacewasonfire

So… this is what it feels like when you breach protocol… #facefullofflame Yes, not just protocol, millennia old rules written in THE BIBLE. It turns out, in the situation of a woman meeting an orthodox man, it is improper for the woman to initiate contact. Old, old rules you can read about here. #Shomer negiah

So, #lessonlearned. Or was it? Here I am again, that same PA, walking into a conference with, yep, you guessed it, a Rabbi… a second time, A. SECOND. TIME! #differentRabbi #itgetsworse

I knew this Rabbi. We emailed and video conferenced like, a bagillion times prepping for this conference. #rapportbuilder The day came where the entire team was assembling and we were finally going to meet. “Nelly,” I said, “this greeting is going to be different. You know what NOT to do. You are fully equipped to prevent another #RabbiFauxPas.” Heck yeah self, you got this! #nbd

Ok, ok, ok OK, nerves simmering on low, full smile shining. The Rabbi walks in just as my cell rings. #getitgurl #themomentnotthephone #answeredthephone We both smile, we both wave and a team member welcomes him to our production office. Call ends. I immediately turn to greet him. Nerves now simmering on medium. Here’s my big chance! In front of all my colleagues…that like, totally saw what happened the FIRST TIME. I turn my attention toward him and excitedly take a step forward, #nohandshake #protocol. OMG, waaaaait, he JUST excitedly took a step forward AT THE SAME TIME. Ummmm, this room isn’t that big. Nerves. On. High. We are TOTES standing too close. Soooo handshake!? Maybe he wants to handshake!? Cues, I’m looking for cues. #ifheoffersIwillshake Nooo, nope, no cues are coming. Cues are NOT being received. I guess no handshake. Buuuut, holy moly we are standing soooo close! #huh #HowDidWeGetHere Nerves hiked to rolling boil. Some kind of social interaction needs to happen! WE ARE LITERALLY STANDING TOO CLOSE! #Handshake? #NONellyNoHandshake #AreHisArmsOut? #AreMyArmsOut? #What? #NoContact #ItsInThe Bible #NOOO #PROTOCOL #NOTSOBLESSED #AHHHHHHH #WHYAMIHUGGINGTHERABBI!?!?

WHAT!?!?!?! I totally. Knowingly. Boldly. HUGGED HIM!?!?! #EPIC #FAIL #whyhandshakewhenyoucanhug!?!?

Yep, even telling this story, #faceonfire! So, yeah… all of this recent footage of the Pope’s visit to the US has me all flushed with embarrassment..again…, like, ALLL over again!!! How many novice PA’s just learned about protocol #theNellyway? #realtalk, how many of you have lived dangerously (#boldly) enough to experience the numbing sear of embarrassment by committing a cultural faux pas? Are you to the place where you can now live to tell the story and laugh about it? Hit me up in the comments below – we all need a good chuckle. #laughingwithyounotatyou


 by Aidan Jones / CC BY