Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not Minding Your Own Business

By Bill Grimes

‘You only have one chance to make a good first impression.’
What a curse! That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. What’s your reaction to someone obsessed with making a good first impression? They appear overeager, unnatural, even suspicious. However they come across – too chatty, too quiet, say “I” and “me” too often – is not likely to be the real person anyway.

If you’re overly concerned about making a good first impression, you’re putting the focus on yourself; kind of selfish when you think about it. You don’t want people to walk away from a first encounter with you thinking, “He’s really stuck on himself.”

The advice usually inserted here about how to make a good first impression is, RELAX. Easier said than done that first time you meet a key member of your client’s team, or your future brother-in-law, but it can be done. It takes a little bit of work, perspective and, like most uncommon events, and meeting a total stranger for the first time is uncommon, a little bit of practice.

You can relax somewhat by giving yourself a couple simple tasks. When you’re introduced, shake the person’s hand looking him or her in the eyes long enough to see what color they are. Say their name, ‘Nice to meet you, Barbara,’ or something similar. Besides giving yourself a couple tasks, saying their name helps you remember it and conveys your interest in them. This won’t relieve all the pressure, but a lot of it.

Keep a proper perspective. It’s not about you. It’s about them. Do some homework ahead of time. With Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and company and organization websites you can learn something about the person or people you are going to meet. Find out what they are interested in. Maybe your brother went to the same school or you’re from the same hometown. Don’t force this kind of chit-chat; you don’t want to come off like you were spying. Wait, for the situation will present itself naturally. Show interest. Ask a couple questions, but mainly LISTEN.

And keep this in mind, most worthwhile encounters reoccur. That first time will not be your only chance to make a good impression.

1 comment:

TJ said...

Excellent suggestions on researching people in advance. there is no reason to go int a meeting cold these days thanks to Facebook, Linkedin, etc.