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TO MAKE A STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION:
Seven Tips That Really
have all heard this warning: “You never get a second chance to make a good
first impression.” Also, psychologists, writers, and seminar leaders
caution that we only
have from seven to seventeen seconds of interacting with strangers before
they form an opinion of us.
this widely acknowledged pressure to “make our case” instantly, here are
tips for making your first impression strongly positive.
greatest way to make a positive first impression is to demonstrate
immediately that the other person--not you--is the center of action and
that the spotlight is on you only, and you’ll miss opportunities for
love relationships, networking, and sales. Show that you are
other-centered, and first-time acquaintances will be eager to see you
Recently I attended a conference. At lunch, my wife and I sat with
know. While most of our tablemates made good impressions, one
man emerged as the
person we’d be sure to avoid all weekend. He talked about
Only rarely did anyone else get a chance to speak. Unfortunately,
thought he was captivating us with his life story.
I applaud this definition of a bore:
“Somebody who talks about himself so much that
you don't get
to talk about yourself."
related: You’ll make a superb initial impression when you
demonstrate good listening skills. Give positive verbal cues:
“Hmmm. . .interesting!” “Tell me more, please.”
“What did you do next?” Just as actors benefit from prompts,
your conversational partner will welcome your assistance in keeping the
Nonverbally, you show you’re a skilled listener by maintaining steady
eye contact. Remember how you respond to
the social gadabout who appears to be looking
over your shoulder for the next
person he wants to corner.
the name of a new acquaintance frequently. “Judy, I like that
suggestion.” “Your vacation must have been exciting, Fred.”
You show that you have paid attention from the start, catching the name
during the introduction. Equally as important, you’ll make
conversations more personal by including the listener’s name several
careful with humor. Although a quip or two might serve as an
icebreaker, stay away from sarcastic remarks that could backfire.
Because you don’t know a stranger’s sensitivities, prolonged joking
might establish barriers you can’t overcome, either now or later.
Dr. Wayne Dyer’s advice, offered in his wonderful book “Real
Magic,” by “giving up the need to be right.” Confrontations
with somebody you’ve just met will destroy rapport before you even
start building it. Wait until you have established credibility
before you challenge another’s statements.
counts. Several years ago, a professional colleague offered to
meet me for lunch. I decided against wearing a suit, opting for a
sport coat and tie. When he showed up in shorts and sandals, the
message he conveyed was: “Bill, meeting you is a rather ordinary
experience, and doesn’t call for me to present a business-like
appearance.” Not surprisingly, that was the last time I met with
True, standards for appropriate attire have changed
drastically. Maybe the best advice
I can share
came from a participant in a seminar I conducted. She said, “I
dress for the job I have now, I dress for the job I want to have.”
a communication specialist, I have to point out that an individual’s
speaking style impacts the first impression, maybe more than we wish.
Listeners judge our intelligence, our cultural level, our education,
even our leadership ability by the words we select--and by how we say
Think of Professor Henry Higgins of "My Fair Lady," who
changed a "guttersnipe" into a lady by teaching her to speak
skillfully. While none of us occupies the lowly level of Eliza
Doolittle, we can keep her example in mind. Rather than mumble,
speak so you're easily heard. Enunciate clearly. Alter your
pitch, to avoid the dullness of a monotone. Display animation in
both voice and facial expression. Gesture naturally, without
"canning" your movements.
these seven tips in mind. They will reduce your fear of business and
social encounters with unfamiliar faces. More positively, you’ll
start enjoying poise and success that you thought were beyond your reach.
Lampton, Ph.D., works with organizations that want to experience
CPR—Cooperation. . . Productivity. . .Renewal of
out how Bill's programs on communication can help all aspects of your
business - sales, customer service, productivity....the bottom line.
information call 352-438-0261 or email
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