Part Three: What First Impression Do You Make?
On the previous post, I to some extent defined who this millennial is from my point of view. Now, when you meet with someone for the very first time, what are some of the basic things you anticipate to know about them? Is it their name, what they do and where they do it? And let’s say you have a little more time on your hands; you extend the chat about what they do, maybe find out if it’s what they’re passionate about, and if not, what is it? Where do they envision themselves in a few years time? Perhaps!
I came to realize that the answers to these questions are what differentiate you from the next person. Because if for instance, we’re all hosted in the same place, and of course dressed to kill, and stripped off our titles because you don’t wear your title on your forehead, what sets you aside are the words that flow out of your mouth. That confidence you exude in yourself and your abilities while you interact with anyone – whether it’s a boss or a subordinate. There’s something attractive about knowing yourself and confidently sharing that basic information with absolutely anyone you network with and in a non-condescending way. It speaks volumes about you and helps you build your brand, because your personal brand is bae!
There are two kinds of young people and you could be one or the other. There are those who are extremely willing to share with you all this basic information you want to know about them when they first meet you. They have thought through it – they will introduce themselves by their full name, and when given a cue, they will break down to you what they do (or can do) with so much clarity and passion. They know what works for them and what doesn’t, they know their strengths and their weaknesses and how they can leverage on each to bring out the best version of themselves. For some it comes naturally, for others they’ve practiced in front of their mirror over and over to get it together – more like your personal selling elevator pitch.
Then there are those who are extremely reserved when it comes to sharing any bit of their personal information that even getting their name is a trip. You want to know a little more about them, but how that information is passed along is so nonchalant and vague. You’re left wondering whether you were too pushy or too intrusive with them. And later you try remembering, “What did they say they do? And what is that they’re interested in again? The memory is a blur, and so you easily forget them because they not only did not make an impression, but they also left you still trying to figure them out.
Unfortunately, the corporate world is not too kind to the latter. I know some people would say they’re introverted (and many other nice words trying to explain why they can’t be out there sharing information or networking) and they don’t just like interacting with people in that way and that’s why they’re so brief. It’s justifiable, yes, but it could be your deal breaker too. You will find few people who are patient with you and what to beg you for information or see you as the diamond in the rough. Very few people. People want that shiny diamond, and if possible well-adorned.
You could be the best at what you do, but you will find that if you’re not able to speak up for yourself, others will speak up for themselves “on your behalf” and at your expense.
If it doesn’t come naturally for you, simply work on your basic information – think about what makes you tick and what suits you best, because you know yourself best. And as you think through it, remember this is more about you than it is anything else. It’s not technical at first, it’s just you. The very first impression you make is usually about you (your name and overall description of what you do, and where you do it), your personality (are you outgoing, reserved, calculated, energetic, entertaining, laid back, domineering e.t.c.), and the attitude you exude (are you pleasant, warm, inviting, cold, rude, disinterested e.t.c.) – not so much your talents, or your skills as important as they are – they come in later, stage 2.
Practice on the mirror or even better, if you have blunt and outspoken friends or family, ask them to hold a makeshift networking session with you. Then they can give you some genuine feedback on whether you come off as authentic or like you’re just bullshitting – be honest with them too about the bits you struggle with and they can give you tips on how to get better and better.
First impressions are important. While a book should not be judged by its cover, many people are unlikely to read it if the cover is not inviting. ~ Anonymous.
For the naturals, go you! Be you! Reach out to a friend who’s struggling in that sector and give them some much needed tips. Always remember that a candle is not diminished by giving another candle light – so go on and spread the light and let’s make some kick ass first impressions wherever we go.
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*