Elevator speeches and the necessity to impress someone or a group of people has become the call of the day.
How many times have you judged, hated, or been impressed by someone in less than a minute? So if someone whom you were meeting for the first time were to walk in with a fast pace, looked pre-occupied with something, didn’t really spend time on niceties like how are you, how was your day, and didn’t leave any time for detailed discussion as you are going through the meeting, would you judge that person to be arrogant, overconfident, impatient and curt?
Even in social media we make judgment about people by looking at the number of followers that each one has. Some people are desperate to get the attention of those who have several followers or have been featured in some write-up that someone on Twitter has done about them and included them in Some Top 50 or 75 lists. An assumption is made by most people, that all those who have appeared in such lists, or have a lot of followers, have a good character and are kind. Sounds familiar? Yes so we judge and get judged in a minute or less.
An elevator speech may be very good but the follow through & delivery may not necessarily follow the impressive Elevator Speech.
So what is important for you to know when you meet someone for the first time and this could be an interview, a meeting with a potential business client, a presentation or a stranger who could turn out to be your friend, or client
- How you dress is important and even on Social Media many forget that they can’t show a bad Display Pictures or pictures that don’t represent them. Though you don’t have to be branded from top to toe or bedecked in jewelry or wear revealing clothes how you dress and what you wear is very important.
- How you walk into an interview or meeting as well as your body language is something that a lot of people tend to underestimate.
- It is not necessary to put on an accent. Be authentic & present your view-point succinctly & with clarity . There is no necessity to be rude nor put on a mask.
- One could be dressed well but yet many spoil the show when they open their mouth – words used and the tone of your voice is as important as how you look.
- Your facial expressions need to convey your authenticity.
The first impression is important but you have to follow through with content and substance and have a good closure. What you say has to be consistent with what you do and no matter even if you have managed to impress someone in the first minute or so, if you don’t walk your talk you’ll surely cut a sorry figure.
What can you do as an observer? When you meet someone for the first time make observations, go with your gut feel but don’t jump to conclusions in the first minute. You may have someone who seems to be in a hurry and brusque but may be a person full of kindness & gratitude. Engage the person in the conversation before you judge.
Let me share with you a story – one of my friends (now) who was an ex colleague of mine, when I was working with one of the companies was visibly upset at the first second he saw me even before introductions. He always avoided me, was rather rude in his response if I ever asked him anything & whilst it was a regular practice to have a brief meeting with most of your colleagues in the first few weeks, he always came up with an excuse for not meeting me. The irony was some people really liked him but there were others who were too scared of him. His behavior did strike me as strange and intrigued me. I was eager to get to know him but after trying very hard for a few months, I decided to step back.
I did judge him but my intuition kept telling me otherwise. Days went by, we got talking to each other, our interactions increased but he was always very brusque when he started talking to me. We parted ways going to different organizations and our paths crossed again in another organization. His behavior was completely the opposite. He gave me the insight about this new firm, called me out for a drink. One day I asked him why his behavior towards me had changed dramatically in that he was so pleasant & friendly. To my surprise he said oh! “I was upset that you were brought in at a higher rank to me when you joined that organization”. “But over time, I figured out that I was showing the anger on the wrong person. I started liking your style and your ideas, and now with both of us again crossing paths I decided I should make up for the bad behavior”.
Many times some people may behave in a particular way because they are judging you by your title or your connections or position. This incident taught me that I should not necessarily judge and more importantly write off someone by the way they behave. Yes, we have short attention span and it is important to have elevator speeches but let’s not be in a hurry to assess someone in less than a minute.
Do you think that the first minute impressions are valid?
Is it right to make a judgement based on first impressions?