You never have a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.
In your life, you will meet many people. Meeting people and groups for the 1st time is a great opportunity accompanied by both anticipation and anxiety. If handled well, more opportunities will come into your life. If handled poorly, opportunities will shrink and complications will increase.
Here is a little list to help you navigate these 1st encounters:
- Pray – Ask God to be with you and guide you. Ask God to give you the wisdom and power to fulfill your purpose. The story of Daniel in the Bible serves as an excellent example.
- Prepare – Do a little research about the person or group you are meeting. Know their interest, passions, and accomplishments. You do not have to throw these facts around in the meeting (you might sound like a creeper). But it will be a useful filter to understand and communicate clearly.
- Arrive on time. If you are running late, let them know before you arrive.
- Shake hands firmly and make eye contact. Your handshake should not be confused with a dead fish or the Incredible Hulk.
- Focus – Pay attention to the person and the subject at hand. Do not appear board and do not be distracted by digital devices. IMPORTANT: Never stare down at your cell phone while they are speaking to you.
- Follow Up – After the meeting; send a hand written note (for important meetings), email or text letting them know you appreciated the time together.
If you happen to make a bad 1st impression, do not give up all hope. Do not cower in embarrassment. Do not ignore them at all future encounters. If appropriate, simply apologize and move forward. If an apology is overkill and it was just an awkward situation, treat the 2nd meeting as if it was your 1st.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:15-17