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Only Impressions

Earlier this week, I read about Felix Baumgartner on Fox News. He intends to “Space” dive from the edge of space, 23 miles to the earth. His goal: break the sound barrier. This is extreme sky diving–beyond extreme. Sky diving embodies one risk: the landing. Space diving touts the hazard of no atmosphere 23 miles from earth…….and the landing! The amount of planning and resources that goes into Baumgarnter’s jump is staggering. There is no room for error. Felix gets one shot at this.

You’ve probably experienced similar situations. Not space diving, but one-and-only opportunities to make an impression. These are different from normal, everyday first impressions. First impressions imply that there is a chance for a second impression, and a third, fourth and fifth. Though first impressions are important, “only” impressions are critical. So what can you do to enhance the one-and-only shot at making your best impression?

1) Prepare

I can’t over emphasize this point enough. Preparation is key. Can you imagine Felix hitching a ride on Spaceship One and pulling the eject lever without giving any thought whatsoever?  Neither should you. Research the person or group with whom you’re meeting. Find out about the company, both historical and it’s vision. The office assistant knows best. If possible, ask them about the person’s interests. “Google before your tweet is the new think before you speak.” Google the daylight out of the person.

2) Try to relax

I know it is difficult not to be nervous in these high-stress situations. Be yourself. This opportunity might be important, even critical. It’s natural to have butterflies. Make sure you are well rested, eat healthy and pay attention to tip #1 above.

3) Dress appropriately

What if Felix jumped without a pressurized suit? His blood would boil. Make sure you are dressed for the occasion. If you’re not sure what is appropriate, then ask. Don’t show up to the black-tie affair in Hawaiian shorts. Of course, if you just want to make any ‘ol impression, go ahead and give it a try.

Life is too short to waste it. When it really counts, put forth a little effort to give it the best you can.

What do you do to improve that first and/or only impression? 

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