Have You Ever Made a Bad First Impression?

I have written many blogs about the importance of making a killer first impression.

First impressions are quick, powerful, and lasting, and it feels so good when you make a great first impression. Despite our best efforts to make a great first impression sometimes we miss the mark and end up making a bad first impression. Your personality might have clashed with your new acquaintance, you shared way too much personal information, you forgot to ask questions and you totally monopolized the conversation. You somehow forgot everything you learned about making a good first impression and not surprisingly your efforts to charm and impress were  a total flop. As difficult as it is to change a bad first impression, it is possible. Here are some tips for turning things around.

1. Decide if you need to redeem yourself

Not everyone is going to think you are a super star and you don’t have to please absolutely everyone you meet. You will get an immediate sense if you and your new acquaintance didn't get off on the right foot. If you think you messed up and after doing a mental replay you determine that any effort to try and redeem yourself will only make matters worse you may be better to let this one go. The key here is to use a failed first impression as a learning moment to not make the same mistakes again.

2. Don’t Be an Imposter 

One common way to blow a first impression is to pretend that you are something or someone that you are not.   Not only will doing this make you feel awkward and guilty, most people can sniff out a phony and very few people will respond positively to you. Things will only get worse if you persist in trying to be someone you are not. The fix is simple, stop being an imposter and be the real you. The best way to recover in this type of scenario is to be honest with the person after the fact. Admit you got carried away trying to make a best impression and that you hope they will appreciate the real you.

3. Apologize

If you got off on the wrong foot because of a simple stumble on your part, take a little time to gather your thoughts and call or send an email suggesting a follow up coffee meeting. If the other person grants you a second opportunity to meet, make a sincere apology and propose that you start your relationship over.

4. But, don’t over-apologize

While admitting to a misstep  you should be careful not over apologize for a less than stellar first meeting. Saying you're sorry is important, but overdoing it can create another uncomfortable situation, of putting the other person in a position of having to constantly reassure you.

5. You might not have messed up as bad as you think

Sometimes our imagination can make us feel like we messed up far worse than we actually did and what we imagine is far worse than reality.  If you decide to make an apology, approach it by owning your feelings rather than telling others how you assume they feel. “Instead of starting out with, "You must think I'm a total loser,’ you might try " I'm uncomfortable with how I behaved yesterday because I realized I might have offended you. Would you be agreeable to starting anew? "

6. Pivot 

If a straight apology doesn't seem to suit the situation, you can always try pivoting instead. One of the best approaches for recovering from a bad first impression is to pivot by showing a different and more favorable side of your personality. Pivoting to focus on a different aspect of your personality may help to reshape the perception of your character and value.

7. Ask for advice

If you feel like someone dislikes you but you can’t figure out why, try to put the relationship on a fresh footing by asking the person for advice. Asking others for advice is always flattering to the person being asked and it offers an opening for more positive interactions.

8. Be persistent

If you're really determined to win someone over after a rough start, be warned that your efforts may take some time. "A Harvard study suggests that it will take eight subsequent positive encounters to change a person's negative opinion of you. In this context, be persistent and patient.

9. Believe in yourself

Believe that you will make more good impressions than bad ones and keep practicing on improving your first impression skills. If you would like to learn more on how to make a great first impression contact Jennifer Grant International, we can definitely help you.

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