Move the needle: first impressions


By CJ McClanahan

As much as I enjoyed an uptick in the temperatures last week, the warm weather also brought something I dislike a great deal – water in my basement.

This past Saturday at 10:30 p.m., during a downpour, we discovered a ton of water in our basement. In addition, because our sump pump had stopped working, the water was rising fast. We contacted a plumber and water restoration company hoping they could help us out.

After the plumber left at 1:15am, my wife and I sat and waited for the water restoration company to arrive.

The doorbell rang at 1:30 a.m. We were both exhausted, it was pouring outside, and we had just written a big check to install a new sump pump.

I was not in a good mood.

I was greeted by two guys in their 30s who looked like they were in the middle of a long night. They were soaked, and I can only imagine how badly they wanted to go home and get dry.

They smiled, thanked us for the opportunity, and quickly convinced us that the process would be painless, and they would be gone as quickly as possible.

My disposition changed in a second. No longer was I as frustrated with the situation. Instead, I was grateful that we were able to get people in the house before there was a foot of water in the basement.

The change in my mood happened within 30 seconds.

That’s the power of a first impression.

Most people think that they have minutes, hours or even days to influence the opinion of others. What research has clearly indicated is that people form an opinion almost instantly. What’s more important is that this initial judgment is extremely hard to change.

Luckily, making a positive first impression is fairly easy. Always start by putting yourself in the shoes of the person you are meeting (or speaking to on the phone) and ask yourself – “What do they expect?” Then simply smile and exceed those expectations.

As with most things in life, intellectually speaking this is easy. All you need to do is choose to execute.

Choose wisely.