Friday, December 20, 2013
More Than a First Impression
I've been thinking a lot lately about first impressions. It's so important to make a great first impression - but what about the second and the third? Can you obliterate a first impression with a subpar second and third encounter? My experience says absolutely. The truth is we get a bit lazy after the impression.
So you had a first good meeting with someone new. Great! You nailed the first impression, and now you get to sail through your next interactions with them, right? Not so! How do you continue to build a relationship with a professional in your network, a media contact, or prospective employer? Here are my tips for taking your interactions to the next level after the first impression.
Remember The Details: Always take a few notes when you meet someone for the first time. I have a terrible memory, which is why I use Google Contacts for this. See my post about having a crazy contact database. Before you meet someone for the second time, take a moment to review your notes from the last meeting. Things to take note of? Where they work, what they do, kids names, city of origin, favorite networking organizations.
Dig Deeper: First encounters are usually pretty surface level. You exchange niceties, personal overviews, comments about the weather. We don't dig deep in fear of hitting a nerve with someone new. We don't know their tolerability for subjects just yet. Proceed with caution, but attempt to push further into the relationship with your second encounter.
Stop Talking About You: Plain and simple. This isn't all about you, so try not to dominate the conversation. Make room in the conversation for the other party, ask questions and be genuinely interested in the answer.
Bring Something Fresh: We've all got our favorite stories, jokes, and pitches. Try to bring something new to the conversation, the second and third time. Remember the 5th time you heard about your co-worker's crazy trip to Las Vegas? Me too. Consider keeping tabs of your conversations in your contact notes.
Thank Them: You followed up the first time you met them, why not do it again? "Jane, thanks so much for meeting me yesterday, it was great to catch up." - it can be this simple. Or even a tweet,"Great meeting up with @_____ this evening. Enjoy your trip to Colorado!"
What do you think? What are your best practices for making a good second and third impression?