CHANGE THE WORLD
A Bad First Impression Isn’t Good
They say we don’t get a second chance at a first impression. I don’t know if I agree with that. I’ve sure had some wonderful relationships that started on the edge. Some even started completely wrong. .
I know the sinking anxious feeling, that realization that I behaved badly on first meeting someone. It could even be that I know that feeling better than most. Over the years, I’ve devised many forms of the bad first impression.
- I’ve been overwhelmingly imposing by talking too much.
- I’ve been under-whelmingly boring because I couldn’t think of a thing to say.
- I’ve been distracted, bored, aggressive, disinterested, and even argumentative, like a debater.
- I’ve assumed things about the person I just met.
- I’ve tried to keep someone engaged when they clearly had to leave.
How to Fix a Bad First Impression
In business, first impressions gone wrong can be costly. They represent jobs not won. Relationships that don’t make into our networks. People who tell their friends that we may not be a good fit with the projects their friends have going on.
But likewise, in business, some the strongest relationships I’ve enjoyed have started with a problem incident – a bad conversation at a high-level meet and greet, an important first project not finished on time, a speaking gig where the presenter totally misread the audience but kept going on.
I’ve been on both sides of a bad impression and neither side feels great. What I’ve found is if I focus on the person and the relationship it’s much easier to get to comfortable and common ground where we can start again. If I value that new relationship I need to take my mind off myself and see the other person — no matter which of us made the bad first impression.
People experience how we make them feel. They might remember what we say, but they’ll never forget how we made them feel. So the best way to a wonderful new experience is to make the person feel how much you value who they are, what they say, how they think.
Forget the event and focus on the person. Communicate that you care about fixing the situation because you value the relationship.
It’s not hard to fix a bad first impression. Just care more about what you think about them than what they thought about you.
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you’re ready to change the world, send me your thoughts in a guest post. Feel free to take the gorgeous Change the World image up there back to your blog. Or help yourself to this one.