Photo by Gwen Weustink (Unsplash)
April 9, 2019
Let’s be honest first, some people just got it! And first impressions come natural daily. However, they can be overwhelming, overrated, or over-tried if that’s a word. So, here is my written opinion on how to impress anyone without preparation.
Look for people who you feel you can grow and learn with. More importantly, don’t waste people’s time. First impressions have there place in every opportunity, but like a one-hit-wonder, it connotates that you have one chance at something. Building wealth, or pursuing your dream career is not about getting a chance or making a first impression. To clarify, these are two separate concepts but the first impression you make on the people that matter most will make all the difference to you in the long run.
The idea of connecting with people is not about growing your network, building wealth, or recognition, because think of the many business cards you’ve collected over the years and recall the number of relationships that grew to an opportunity you benefit from today. Maybe many are in the works, but 5 out of 100 is near the cold calling averages. Not efficient, but fair in the idea we have a habit of wanting a bigger network for many said reasons.
It’s a waste of space.
We have to be honest with ourselves when it comes to business. Do you really need a person’s contact information? In the back of your head you maybe thinking, “I’m way to busy to reach out later anyway….” They become another card in the stack of your desk drawer. Because you’re likely already behind on emails traveling to a conference.
Business trips. They keep us on our cell phones. Which is where I’m writing draft one of this article from.
Over time I was often reluctant to talk about ‘work’ at conferences even though that was why I was there. Especially at booths, considering most attendees would think I was selling them something. But no, I was often just a happy traveler and wanted to chat with smarter people. Maybe to see if you even like your job. But that’s conference life. People on their phones, laptops, chatting and networking.
It’s a beautiful thing.
But often these were my first impressions of people.
Distracted on phones, working on laptops to keep up with emails, and yes this
was me as well.
Through my career I learned to avoid the guilt of telling people I’d be in contact with them as soon as I got back to the office, knowing damn well I had 100 plus emails to catch up with first. I said it in habit of others telling me the same. And that was often my last impression of them. I also learned to avoid being on my phone, and ignore incoming emails while looking to network and build with others around me. We all traveled to do the same thing, sort of. The challenge was trying to make my conversations with people about them, instead of work.
I found that it came natural after connecting with my colleagues at work. And speaking to them more about their personal interests led me to believe they were often a lot like myself. Just trying to keep up. Sounds simple but there are levels to it. Avoiding work conversions can be awkward, but next time let go of your ego and see what happens next. Because awkward moments are how I met my best influencers. Talk about a first impression right…
If you think you failed on a first impression, so what. Let me tell you about second chances; they’re like networks, it takes more than two. How do you think I started living my dream at 31?
First impressions can make all the difference on your journey, but building daily is how you live it. Next time you meet someone at a conference, don’t think about a first impression. That is shown in the value you prove you can bring to the network. Any decision maker reading this knows a first impression is often made before you meet someone. If you have to prepare for it, then you likely weren’t ready at the request.
And because Tuesdays were once my worst day of the week, I chose the day to inspire readers to start improving their daily impressions today! Think about you on your worst day, and think how you can work toward a better first impression now for the next person you meet.