Tero Professional Development Blog
Reframe Your Interactions For Better First Impressions
Friday, May 5, 2017
How good are you at making first impressions? We often assume that if we are having a good time that the person with us must be enjoying themselves too. That's because, when you meet someone for the first time, you often focus on what you say and what you talk about.
In the book, First Impressions, by Ann Demarais and Valerie White, they say that, "how you come across to others is less about what you say or how you feel and more about how you make people feel about themselves in your presence."
Demarais and White explain there is a simple way to look at the four different emotions involved in an interaction. Mastering the art of balancing these four emotions will make any interaction successful.
1. How You Feel About Yourself
This is usually the first place we go in new situations. You talk to someone at a party or a meeting, and you are mostly concerned with how you feel - whether you are comfortable, engaged, tired, nervous, and so on. It guides how you interact with people, what situations you seek out, and whom you choose to associate with.
2. How You Feel About The Other Person
Once you feel comfortable with a new situation and a new person, you relax your self-focus and turn your emotional attention to how you feel about the other party. You evaluate others based on how they respond to you and what they say and do. You make quick decisions about their personality and how much you like them.
3. How The Other Person Feels About You
Making good impressions means making someone feel positively about you - so how the other person feels about you is an important focus. And it usually is when you are in situations in which you consciously want to impress someone or know you are being evaluated. During the interaction, you may notice whether the other person smiles and pays attention to you, laughs at your jokes, and seem engaged.
4. How The Other Person Feels About Him Or Herself
You may not realize how powerfully you can affect how others feel and, especially how they feel about themselves. You surely know that you can entertain or bore someone, but do you think about how you can make that person feel proud or insightful? How people feel about themselves after interacting with you will impact how they feel about you. This is often the most neglected of the four emotional focuses.
Now, with all that being said, it might make sense to spend all your energy on the other person and making them feel good. But you might also might be thinking, "what about me?" How can you be sure you get what you want? You probably have a feeling of what you would like to get out of another person. You may like to be around people who make you laugh. You might like to share a lot about yourself because it makes you feel understood, or you may enjoy talking about your work because it allows you to feel talented. How do you balance getting what you want while focusing your energy on others?
The quickest route to getting what you want is to give to others first (what a paradox). The more you listen and connect, the more likely it is that others will return the attention. Begin from a position of generosity, and meet others' needs and lay the groundwork for getting reciprocal fulfillment.
We are quick to talk about ourselves because who knows us better than us? We want the other person to know who we are, what we do and why they should be interested to talk to us. But, think about the person who is quick to talk about themselves, compared to the person who is quick to ask about you? Which person would you rather talk to again? We don't need to answer that one.
This applies to all situations. Talking to a new client, your significant other, your kids, your neighbors, Joe from that Italian restaurant you go to on Tuesday's. Everyone is out seeking to be heard and understood. It's what makes humans, human. The greater importance you put on understanding everyone else, the more they will reciprocate and ultimately, create better connections for everyone.
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