How to Make a Great First Impression

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What statement are you making?
What impression do you make on the world around you?

“Reputation is critically important, so consciously define and protect it at every turn. You may have a hard time undoing damage you have already done, but you can sure stop yourself from continuing to hurt yourself from this moment forward by making more intelligent choices. I’ve always said, ‘If you’re in a hole, then stop digging!’ So get active about it and ask yourself what statement you’re making and if it is the statement you want to make and if that statement is authentic to who you really are.” Dr. Phil, Life Code (p. 140)

I know there is a fine line between being a hypocrite and being authentic. And yet I see people showing up without a care about how they appear to others.

I was seated in an aisle seat on an airplane a few years ago when a man reached up to put his carryon in the overhead bin. Well, his shirt was too short  for his ample and his pants sagged down, way down. I found his bare a hum in my face, literally. If I had thought fast enough I’d have pinched him.

When I taught middle school speech I had some kids right out of the country and they didn’t see the point in dressing up for speech contests. I had to explain what first impressions mean. That the judge didn’t know them and that all he/she knew was what they saw. Until they heard the speech all that they could judge you by was your appearance. This was a wake up call for some of my students who never, ever paid attention to their appearance.

I’m not advocating putting on the dog. I am suggesting thinking about how you come across to others. This is most important when you prepare for an interview. You will have much more successful results if you imagine yourself in the position of the person interviewing you.

I once interviewed a young woman for a position as a dental hygienist. She was very attractive and met the qualifications. However, she had long, thick hair that would definitely have fallen into the patient’s face while cleaning their teeth. And she had beautiful artificial nails that were so long she couldn’t have done the job and they would’ve cut through the gloves required.

When you interview for a job go looking like you could step right into that position.

Maybe you aren’t job searching. Maybe you are applying to college or joining a new club. Whatever the case consider the statement you make.

If this makes you uneasy allow me to tell you what a dear friend used to tell me, “Fake it until you make it.” Sometimes and in some situations it is necessary to push yourself at least a little bit. If you feel better about yourself wearing your little black dress, wear it. If you feel better about yourself with short hair, cut it. Just be aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

A paraphrase of Ruth Barton by John Maxwell in Talent is Never Enough:

“People are set up to fail if they envision what they want to do before they figure out what kind of person they should be.”

Let me know what you are learning about yourself.

Gail in purple speaking with hand gesturesI hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. I am a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy.
I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother.
In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving, published in July 2015, is available for purchase on CreateSpace, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online.

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