The Importance of the Impression – Week 5

All of us have heard the line “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” And while the first impression is important, what about the second impression? And the third? Having an ongoing impression of excellence every day will allow us to better influence those around us and partake in potential opportunities. In fact, if we only focused on dressing and acting professionally when we knew we were going to meet someone important, we would almost certainly miss out on many other opportunities. How many times have you met someone interesting by chance when you least expected it? In fact, I would wager to say that many of the people you value in your life today (aside from family) are people who you did not explicitly set out to meet when you met them. For this reason, it is crucial that we are prepared for an opportunity to meet anyone – at any time. In the remainder of this post, let’s take a look at a couple of ways that we can be ready for spontaneous encounters like these.

Be Ready to Provide a Lasting Impression

In his book It’s a Jungle in There, Steven Shussler recounts the importance of making a memorable business card and keeping it handy for distribution at all times. “Each time I meet a new person, that individual could be a potential investor or someone who might provide assistance to me in some way” he says. Shussler goes on to say “as an entrepreneur, you might want to consider designing a special business card to capture the attention of your prospective investors.”

Of course, this is the era of smart phones and Facebook and we may feel inclined to not carry a business card with us for those reasons. But, even today, business cards are still a smart idea. It is possible that the person you meet doesn’t have a Facebook account, and if you swap text messages, your message could get easily lost among dozens of other text messages on the phone of the other person. Having an independent, stand alone means of providing information about yourself and your contact information is therefore a wise decision. Additionally, having your own business card shows that you are prepared for unexpected situations and may send a signal to your new acquaintance that you are a dependable person with foresight.

Dress Sharp, But Act Sharp, Too

The article by Bill Murphy Jr. from Forbes entitled 17 Simple Habits That Make You Look More Professional outlines a number of ways we can better present ourselves to those around us. One of the traits outlined in the article, and one that I feel is often missing from many of our conversations, is a professional type of candor. That is, being candid and truthful about a situation. It can be a great way of cutting through a conversation and offering a useful solution. And when we begin to offer useful solutions to people, that makes the conversation beneficial. And when a conversation is beneficial, we become beneficial and the value of a future relationship appears. Although this might not seem like “acting sharp” in the traditional sense (which I suppose is more aimed at “appearing smart” than actually offering useful ideas), I believe that it is an area that would greatly improve not only our own situation but the situations of those around us.


Sources:

Murphy, Bill (2016). 17 Simple Habits That Make You Look More Professional INC.com. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/17-simple-habits-that-make-you-look-more-professional.html

Shussler, Steven (2010). It’s a Jungle in There. Newyork, NY: Sterling Publishing

What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

10 thoughts on “The Importance of the Impression – Week 5

  1. I too, believe that a business card is a nice touch and can leave a lasting impression. It is professional in nature and is tangible. I carried a mans business card in my wallet for over a year until I used it last month. Turns out his product was much cheaper than most. I also agree with offering solutions while engaging in conversations; you never know the extent in which that relationship may go based on your words. Great read!

    Mo

  2. Hi Austin,
    I too believe in the old fashioned business card. I always try to get them when I meet new people because I never know when I may need them or have the opportunity to pass their name and services onto someone else. It does make me realize that I need to get a business card that is separate from my current place of employment. Although one may give me credibility, the new one is a step to my future entrepreneurial dreams. I also agree about acting smart and making conversations more beneficial. In the fast pace world we live in, having those “beneficial” conversations may play an important role in getting our products and services to market.
    Always enjoy your posts,
    Cece

    1. Hi Cece, thank you for the comment! I completely agree, it really does give some extra credibility and allows us the luxury of putting the details in our phone at a more convenient time. And having beneficial conversations is also a must.

  3. Austin,
    I have to agree with you always being prepared with a business card. How many time have you met someone that didn’t have a business card on them. Make you wonder how prepared this person is with all aspects to their business.
    Mary

    1. Hi Mary, I have to say – there have been a lot of times where I wasn’t prepared to meet somebody, just like you described. It’s a great inexpensive way to be prepared! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Austin,

    It is a great idea to always carry business cards or someway to give out your contact information at any time. You never know when you are going to run into someone who might be able to help you with your business or you help them with theirs. I met an entrepreneur on a plane, who had business cards on hand, you must be prepared for the unexpected.

    Thanks,
    Mackensie

  5. First impressions, we’ve all heard this right! The first impression is always the most important! But, like you said the second, third and so forth is just as important. Being prepared to give a great impression at all times is critical. Dress the part, act the part, come prepared with business cards — all great parts of being an Entrepreneur! I learned a valuable lesson today in being prepared! I am a consultant, which means I just show up to places and train employees or other small business owners. Well the location that we had two classes in today did not have a laptop or projector. I asked the facilitator weeks ago, if I needed to bring my own projector and laptop, the answer was no. So, today I looked unprofessional because we didn’t have the basic tools we needed. So to fix that situation, my husband suggested I get a great tool cart/bag on wheels and have my projector and laptop ready to go — just take my tools to every class! Lesson Learned!

  6. Honesty is always the best policy. When you speak of transparency…that can often be difficult because an interview is about making yourself look good, not like you make a ton of mistakes, right? I’d argue that if an interviewer brings up an issue that you be transparent about it, in a professional way. This will show the interviewer that you are not a liar, that you own up to your mistakes, that you learn from your mistakes, that you aren’t so proud you’ll let misfortune consume you before you admit your mistakes, and most importantly…it builds trust! Trust is key in any business relationship, so be transparent!

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