Photo by Gwen Weustink (Unsplash)
April 9, 2019
First, let’s be honest, 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’s 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 it. 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 those that matter most makes 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. Some could be in the works, but having 5 out of 100 relationships built is near cold calling averages. Although fair, it’s inefficient. Personally, I try to keep out the 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. You’re likely already behind on emails traveling to a conference, anyways.
Business trips; they keep us on our cell phones. Which is where I’m writing draft one of this article.
Over time, I got reluctant to talk about ‘work’ at conferences, despite it being the reason I’m there. Especially at booths, mainly to avoid attendees thinking I was selling them something. I was often just a happy traveler and wanted to chat with smarter people. And maybe to see if they even like their job. But that’s conference life. People on their phones, laptops, chatting and networking.
It’s a beautiful thing, but also my first impressions of people. Distracted on phones, working on laptops, etc—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. It was said in habit of others telling me the same, because it was also my last impression of them. By this, I avoided being on my phone, and ignored incoming emails to focus on building relationships 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.
What came natural after connecting with my colleagues better, was speaking more about their personal interests, which led me to believe they were a lot like myself—trying to keep up. Sounds simple, but there are levels to it. Avoiding work conversions can be awkward. My best advise, speak to them as if they’re your cousin, or distant relative. Try it and see what happens next.
By the way, awkward moments are how I met my best influencers. Talk about a first impression…
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, and by building on that idea daily is how to live it. Next time you meet someone at a conference, don’t think about a first impression, that’s shown in the value you prove you can bring to their network. Any decision maker reading this knows a first impression is often made before you meet someone. If you have to prepare for it, you likely weren’t ready at their request.
And because Tuesdays were once my worst day of the week, I chose that day to inspire readers to start improving their daily impressions, today! Think about you on your worst day, and find out how you can work toward a better first impression now, for the next person you meet.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin with an impressed smile 🙂