Over and Over ad Infinitum

Over and Over ad Infinitum

By Mark Shannon

Have you ever wished you could do something over again?   I think we all answer yes to this question.  I believe that Albert Einstein defined the word insanity as doing the same things over and over again but expect a different result.   

I have been thinking lately about the first impression people make.  Within seconds of meeting someone you already form opinions of that person.  What does the countenance on my face say about my mood?  Am I glad to be here? Am I preoccupied with something else?  How was my handshake – too firm, too fishy?  Is my hair a mess?  Do I have food between my teeth?  Is there something dangling from my nose?  What about my breath?  Am I dressed appropriately?  The person you are meeting will note any or all of these concerns within 5 seconds of meeting you formally

Within the next 3 minutes of meeting a new person, we can find out more about this person.  What words we choose to use when we speak usually give this insight.  Words such as “like”, “cool”, “I dunno”, “um”, “uh”, and “you know” may give someone an impression as to our education level, our self confidence, or performance ability. 

How you speak tells more about you.  Do you make eye contact?  Do you look up and to the left frequently when you are speaking?  Do you speak with confidence or do you speak softly?  Do you look all around the room when you are talking?

 According to a study at the University of California, Los Angeles, 93% of our communication is non-verbal.  This means that we do more of our communicating by seeing, smelling and touching than we do by hearing.

I suggest that we spend more time on that first 5 seconds when we meet someone.  What do they see, what do they smell, and what do they tell by your touch when they meet you?   What does an interviewer find out about you in the first 5 seconds?  What does a first time client find out about you in the first 5 seconds?  

If you are having difficulty getting past the first interview , or rebooking first time clients, you may be caught in the insanity of the first 5 seconds.  Is it time to make some changes?

So I want to know, what’s the worst first impression you have ever made?

19 thoughts on “Over and Over ad Infinitum”

  1. I’ll be honest, before I started CCC I used a lot of those words when speaking with someone. I probably still use some, but not as much now. I don’t think I ever made a bad impression, or at least no one told me I had made a bad impression. Before CCC I was extremely shy and like to think I am still a wee bit shy, but now I’m more polished and use more of my words to hold a conversation whether it’s will fellow students or my instructors. Also there is no better way to hold a conversation than keeping eye contact with the person you are speaking to. It tells them you are concentrated on them and what they are saying to you. Not only that but they will be more concentrated on what you are saying to them when you keep eye contact.

  2. No judgement, right? 🙂 I’m sure there have been times when I have been at work and dealing with a difficult, complainative customer and then have someone walk up right after that person and see that I am still upset or angry. There’s not always a chance to regroup and refocus and unfortunately, that can leave a lasting impression.

  3. The first thing that comes to mind was the first rime I met the president of the SCOT club. He was (and still is) an extrermly handsome man with a very strong (and sexy) brogue. My husband took me up to him to introduce me, and I couldn’t say a coherent word! I tripped over my tounge, my knees felt like jello & I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole! Yeah, Dave thought it was real funny. I was embarrassed. I can’t even imagine what he thought. It was not a professional environment however it could happen in an interview.

  4. The worst impression…. was the first time I met my wife’s parents, before we were married. We had stopped by to pick up a cooler we were borrowing on our way to go camping together, with our friends. They were obviously not happy. We had never met and I was ‘taking’ their daughter off into the woods for a weekend. Wow.

  5. My most embarrassing first impression would have to be the first time i was at a competition, i was walking and i slipped and fell and slid across the floor on my knees and ended up in front of another competitor. I looked up at him for a second then put out my arms and said ta-du. i was totally mortified but he just lapped.

  6. I don’t have one off the top of my mind but in high school I and a loud mouth buddy was standing line at a blockbuster when he proceeded to talk extremely loudly and rudely about a female that he meet at a after school activity (party). During this time a man and women in front of us turned around and made a comment about his behavior and how would never to be aloud to date his daughters. 2 weeks later my buddy told me he met that men and women again as he was at their door picking up their daughter. Lets just say that yes they remembered him and yes he never dated their daughter.

  7. The worst first impression Ive made was when I started my job at a salon. I was very shy and took me awhile to open up. Luckily, it wasnt that bad of an impression and everyone was super nice and made me feel more comfortable at starting at a new job.

  8. One of the worst was the greeting I gave to the anesthetist who came to give me an epidural during childbirth – He had been at the hospital christmas party and was too late to help me -I remember questioning his gender and his parentage in what I felt at the time was appropriate and reasonable language. Apparently it wasnt, as he later refused to come back to anethetise me to be stitched up. In terms of massage can only think that the moral is to be nice to everyone you just never know when you might need them?!

  9. I think the worst first impression I have ever made was when I was younger and less mature. I didn’t care about much at the time unless, of course, it had something to do with me. I was meeting new people everyday at my job and I was not representing my company very professionally. When they would come to me I was more concerned with getting them out the door as quickly as possible than making a good first impression so they would choose my company over the others.

  10. The worst first impression I have ever made…wow, embarassing. Was “introduced” to my prospective interior design mentor AFTER I spilled coffee all over him. Yes, I AM clumsy. I have since learned to never take anything I can spill, drop or turn over into an interview.

  11. I don’t usually form much of an impression of someone in the first 5 seconds, but I do usually have a first impression formed after the first meeting. I am not very good with observation skills, so I am not really certain of the worst first impression I have ever given someone based off the first 5 seconds. I did leave a terrible first impression with an employer when I was a teenager, and nearly lost my job over it. Some of my friends came into my work during my first week on the job and the first night that I worked with the owner. It was very busy, but I actually left the cash register, while working with another customer, to go goof off with my friends. The owner had to come get me to send me back to work. Amazingly, she did not send me home right then. When it was close to the end of the work shift, I clocked out before I was done working. I did not tell her I was doing it, but just did it and then quickly went back to work. She had excellent hearing though, and came and asked me about it. I told her yes I had clocked out, because I was not going to have her paying me for the time I had been goofing off. It ended up that was the only reason I still had a job when I left for home. Luckily, I was able to reverse a horrible first impression. That usually does not happen. I try very hard to never duplicate such a terrible first impression. People usually don’t get that lucky twice.

  12. Makes you think about what you could be leaving with someone everytime you open your mouth…..Thanks! 🙂

  13. When I was little I use to look every where but at the person when I talked to someone. but only when I was talking when they was talking I looked a them.

  14. Well I would have to say my worst impression would be at a softball try-out. At the time this was the ultimate team to be on. Needles to say I was a nervous wreck. I was very intimidated and could not look the coach in the eye or give him a firm hand shake. This was only the beging of a horrible impression. I booted all of my routine grounders, and couldnt hit a target.

  15. The most common impression that I am aware of having made on many people is, “Oh. Wow. I had no idea that you were that young. I thought that you were alot older than that.” Be this good, bad, or otherwise I generally just take it or leave it. I realize there are some things that I could do to change this response, but it’s worked well for me this long…or short of a time.

  16. The worst impression I can think of is from when I used to drink. There is nothing worse than meeting your new boss while intoxicated and not at work. I was lucky that he still gave me a chance and I worked for him 7 years. Still to this day he will bring it up at least once a year. Once it is there it stays.

  17. This makes you think about what you do when you talk to someone you don’t really know or someone you need to make a good first impression on. Now when I talk to someone I will now concentrate on making eye contact and not saying like, uh, cool, etc. Thanks for this good information!!

  18. I’ve never really worried too much about the first impression, I think that may be a big factor as to why first impressions don’t go over so well for people in the applicable situation. I’m confident enough in who I am to not have to worry so much about meeting new people. As long as you being the best person you can and doing all that you can to strive to make that true, then that will only leave people the option to accept who you are or not. I’ve learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone you come into contact with, it’s physically impossible, but as long as you’re true to yourself, you’ll be a winner in the long run. As for impressions, I’m not a hard guy to read at all, I can become your best friend in a day, maybe that’s the Libra in me.

  19. I suspect that my first impression is not what it should be. I have learned that I show on my face exactly what is on my mind. Not always a crowd-pleaser.