*So…you’re standing in the annual White House Holiday Photo Line. Palms sweating. Mind racing. Any minute it will be your turn to take a picture with the president. It will only last a few seconds, yet long enough for you to feel the need to say something clever…or long enough to feel uncomfortable if you don’t.

But what do you say to the leader of the free world in only a few seconds? What lasting impact can anything you are forced to say in such a short span of time have? 

Yet and still, the annual “Say Cheese” moment takes place at approximately 20 different holiday receptions attended by the First Couple each December. And according to The New York Times, this “sometimes politically fraught and often agonizingly awkward photo-line banter with the president has become a staple of the holiday season in Washington, where yuletide ritual meets professional opportunism — all in the course of about six seconds.”

Let’s face it. It’s not like you will have time to adequately “pitch” anything. And if you try, and fail, you’re left feeling you’ve made a fool out of yourself …in front of the president. But just smiling and saying, “Nice to meet you, sir” no matter how proper, seems inadequate. And you may never forgive yourself for not seizing the moment to contribute something intellectual during your ‘time’ with the president.

Then again, this will only come into question if your friends, family or colleagues know you even had the opportunity.  For it is they, who will make you feel like crap if you didn’t “take greater advantage of it.”

I can hear them now:

“You were WITH the president and you didn’t talk about…”?

Read more at EURThisNthat.