A second first impression?By Danielle Di Masi | May 16, 12 03:08 PM
If you stuff up your first impression can you redeem yourself?
Sometimes we don’t always get the opportunity to make the perfect first impression, however that does not mean it’s over; you may get a second chance … depending on what you did in the first place!
Here are a couple of situations (all true!) where first impressions were not positive. You decide if they deserve a second chance:
1. A director of a commercial real estate company was on his way to seal one of the biggest deals in his firm’s history. On his way in the car he was cut off by another driver; he had always been known to have a temper, however this really ticked him off and yelling didn’t feed his fury enough. He started throwing fifty cent coins at the other car – which was a nice new Bentley (you wouldn’t be happy). After a couple of hits, the Bentley rightly sped off to get away from the damage to his car. The director then pulled into the warehouse and found that the potential buyer was already parked waiting for him. Yes you are right; the potential sale was the Bentley driver.
2. A woman with her own consultancy company met another woman at a wedding, they were both attending alone and decided to let loose and have some fun; drinking, dancing and generally just enjoying the event. Throughout the night they connected on Facebook to share their crazy photos. The following day while nursing a huge hangover the entrepreneur woman looked up Facebook and noticed that her new friend worked for a corporation she was trying to land, she was actually the executive she had been trying to connect with
3. A BDM was going up an elevator to a pitch meeting, he always feels uncomfortable if he is in a lift with just one other and so to break the silence he said “Ahh I do not have time for this ridiculous meeting!” The stranger politely smiled. When the lift came to a stop and both men got out, the stranger turned around and said “no point introducing yourself to reception, follow me to my office for our ridiculous meeting.”
What do you think? Who do you believe deserves to have another chance to start over?
In my opinion, examples two and three can redeem themselves and example one deserved losing that sale (which of course he did, the Bentley driver got straight back in his car without a word and drove off).
So how do you get yourself a second first impression? It’s all in the communication and taking a little advice from dogs! Just for a moment put your tail slightly between your legs. No, you may not have done anything dramatically wrong (unless you were the man in example number one, damage to a person or their property is never warranted) but you need to acknowledge that it was not how you usually begin a business relationship and start again.
In a situation like example two, approach your new friend in casual conversation and let her know you’d love to work with her company. The great thing here is you already have rapport and you can be comfortable in moving forward personally and professionally (yes you can have both).
In an example like number three, simply apologise for your words in the lift and explain that you get uncomfortable in those situations and can say meaningless words just to fill the space. Make light by saying Freud would have a field trip on your lift interaction and then move on saying you have been really looking forward to this meeting; again put that business face on and show how great you are professionally.
So what are the key takeaways on getting a second first impression? Acknowledging, accepting, and moving forward. A common mistake is people keep bringing up the situation and continually apologising. So again, acknowledge it and move on! Remember this is your second first impression, you are not on trial and awaiting sentencing.
Danielle Di-Masi is a Premium member of Business Chicks, request her online business card and connect with her here.
Danielle Di-Masi is a business etiquette expert, specialising in building effective business relationships through connection and rapport.