Today started the new semester of my Sophomore year and I couldn’t have been more excited. It was a little ridiculous, I stayed up, ironed my outfit that I had decided on, and hung it up away from danger. I was awake almost two hours before my first class of the day and ended up on campus a good hour and a half before I even had to head towards the College of Business. I joined my fellow classmates in our Basic Principles of Marketing class and devoured every word the professor said as he halfway introduced himself and the course.
THIS NEXT PART IS THE MOST IMPORTANT.
Immediately after the class was released, I gathered my belongings, walked right up to the professor, and introduced myself.
I cannot emphasize this enough, especially to any younger reads that might be seeing this.
ALWAYS INTRODUCE YOURSELF. Firm handshake, smile, and speak clearly. That’s all that it could take to create the difference between the grade you receive and the grade you want. Your first impression, with anyone, is your first attempt to establish that relationship and make it known that you aren’t here to fool around. You’re here for business.
This applies to all those that you meet along your walk of life. Every teacher, every professor, every employer. You walk right up to them, hand out, and make it know what you’re there to do. I used to be awful at all of these things. Sure, due to my southern raising I was fairly versed in the ways of “charm and etiquette,” but my hands were clammy, voiced wavered, and I couldn’t stand to look people in the eye for more than a moment. Now, it’s almost impossible to get me to stop talking and anytime that I’m not at the front of the conversation, my attention is placed where it needs to be. Stop looking at your phone, stop trying to interrupt, just be present and be respectful.
Let me tell you about the best and worst times I tried to make a first impression.
The best time was back in the days of working at the local movie theater. I only knew that a few friends of mine were working there and so I decided to put in my application. From day one, I made it known that I was there to work and enjoy (as much as I could as someone who cleaned theaters) the work that I was given the opportunity to do. I continued doing this for a year and at the end of that year, I was one of two people personally asked if they wanted to move into a newly opened assistant manager position. You better believe that I took it too. From there, I continued making the point of treating my superior with respect and friendship and even after I was let go, I still remain in contact with him on a professional enough level for him to remain a wonderful reference for future jobs.
Now the worst impression I made was a little sooner than that. It was about two years ago and I found this girl to be very attractive and fun. I had recently adopted the mentality of being totally honest with people when I was attracted to them and shooting for the moon. Let me tell you, that doesn’t always work when you’re four years older than most of the people you’re hanging around. I came off as creepy, clingy, and downright weird because they weren’t used to just honesty. And honestly? It led me to a much harder path and ended up not panning out for me. But that second path led to me to where I am today and just think, you wouldn’t get to read all these amazing posts if I wasn’t here, right?
The main point of what I’m saying is this simple fact. Make a great first impression and it can take you into the stratosphere. Make a bad first impression and it can do nothing more than teach you what you need to change and put you on a future path to success. Failure is only harmful when you don’t learn from it.
So, tell me about your best/worst impression you ever made in the comments below. And, if you really enjoy this, be sure to find me out there in the social mediaverse on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and everything in between.
PS. Keep an eye out for an upcoming review post where I have the distinct honor of talking with Lauren Shippen, writer and director of The Bright Sessions podcast.
Stay frosty folks!