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March 4, 2019
Ask ACE

Tips on how to make a good first impression

Have a question for ACE? Jim Milliken can be contacted at lifeisaprojectmaine@gmail.com

The Association for Consulting Expertise (ACE) is a nonprofit association of independent consultants who value "Success through Collaboration." The public is welcome to attend its regular meetings to share best practices and engage with industry experts. For more information go to www.consultexpertise.com.

Q: They say first impressions are important. How can I be sure to make a good first impression?

ACE Advises: First impressions are formed in seconds, and can have a permanent effect on relationships. It's possible to overcome a negative first impression, but it's not easy. Far better to get off on the right footing and go up from there.

Start with your attitude. That will control all the unconscious signals you send. As you go through the activities of your days, maintain a positive, open attitude. Don't ignore people. React as a problem solver, not a complainer.

In your professional role, think constructively especially in advance of events and situations.

Don't assume "just being me" is OK. People interpret their impressions of others through their own lenses. You have no idea what recent happenings and long-term understandings determine what they think of your words, facial expressions and behavior.

And account for your own unconscious assumptions and reactions. Certain surroundings and kinds of people can cause you to behave in defensive or withdrawn ways.

All that being so, it's a good idea to give yourself a little talk, an internal Q&A exchange, as you approach any situation.

When I meet a person and am favorably impressed, what is the person doing?

Most likely, the person is smiling, making direct eye contact, asking friendly questions, listening attentively and responding appropriately.

The person is prepared, shows quiet confidence, is knowledgeable and confident. At the end, I feel good about the interchange.

When you can genuinely be such a person, your first impressions will take care of themselves.

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