Jean de la Bruyere said, ‘The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others. He who leaves your company pleased with himself and his own cleverness is perfectly well pleased with you.’
Every conversation, interaction and encounter has some kind of emotional effect on both parties:
In order to make an UNFORGETTABLE! first impression (not just a good first impression), you must focus on the last of these four effects: how others feel about themselves.
The 6 Essential Elements for Flawless First Impressions are part of Scott Ginsberg’s the UNFORGETTABLE! Audio System. In this article we will examine Essential Element #5: Other Orientation.
To solidify this element, ask yourself the following seven questions. If you can answer them while connecting with new people, you will be certain to become UNFORGETTABLE!
How comfortable is the other person?
The most socially gracious people are those who make others feel comfortable. Comfort can be broken into two parts: level and touch. First let’s talk about level. When interacting with someone, always synchronize your posture both vertically and horizontally. For example, if one person is sitting, the other should do the same.
One group of people who understand the value of synchronizing their posture is food servers. I remember eating at my local Steak ‘N Shake in St. Louis last year during a very busy time of night. My server – and also everyone else’s server – was running around the understaffed restaurant like a mad man. He finally came to my table and, once he caught his breath, introduced himself and sat down.
‘I can’t stand up anymore – it’s too crazy! Anyway, you must be Scott, right?’ he joked as he pat my shoulder, ‘Well I’m Brian. What can I get for you?’
As Brian sat eye to eye with me I felt connected to him. I even felt his pain – he was the only server in the place, but he still managed to adjust to my level.
Psychologically, level adjustments like this are one of many factors that contribute to an average increase in tips. I worked in food service for many years and never encountered a manager who didn’t remind us of this tactic. But my managers also encouraged another practice that was effective for first impression – and tip – management: touch.
This is the second component to making the other person feel comfortable. Especially when it comes to handshakes, high-fives, shoulder brushes and pats on the back, incorporating the slightest bit of touch in an appropriate and non-violating manner will make people feel more connected to you.
How can you make the other person feel superior to you?
One of my favorite Emerson quotations is, ‘Every man is my superior in some way, and in that, I learn of him.’
When you first meet someone, a great tip is to tell them how much you’ve learned from them in the short time you’ve talked. Thank them for enlightening you. Even write down suggestions, tips, names or things they told you right in front of them. Remember, people hate those who make them feel their own inferiority.
Do they feel like they already know you?
If you ever hear someone say, ‘God I feel like we’ve known each other for years!’ or ‘We really seemed to hit it off!’ you’re on the right track to making an UNFORGETTABLE! first impression.
But you can’t get to this point in the conversation without self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is the process of making yourself manifest to another. It starts with little pieces of information like your name, but as you locate the CPI and share your opinions and attitudes, you will find that the other person will reciprocate the same back to you. This norm of reciprocity is another way of saying, ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.’
Now, be careful here. Say the wrong thing and you might hear one of the most annoying, overused clichés of the past 10 years come out of your conversation partner’s mouth: ‘Too Much Information!’ As frustrating as this phrase may be, if someone says it, you’ve obvious crossed the line. Sometimes you may be several miles past the line. So be liberal with the amount of information you reveal. And be sure your level of intimacy matches that of the other person. You’ll have no problem connecting with someone as if you ‘already know each other.’
How engaged is the other person?
Remember this: two monologues do not make a dialogue. (Some people just yap back and forth without engaging the other person like they’re talking to a wall!) So incorporate both people! An important phrase you can use to assure the dialogue is: ‘What About You?’ This sentence is the epitome of having an Other Orientation.
It also allows you to turn the tables. Stop talking for once and find out what they’re thinking. If you reciprocate back and forth and keep both parties engaged, you will be well on your way to creating an UNFORGETTABLE! First Impression.
Are they uncertain?
A common reason people feel uncertain during the limited first impression window is the forgetting of names. A person’s name is the sweetest sound they’ll ever hear, but even more shocking is that a person’s name is the single context of human memory most apt to be forgotten.
So ASSUME that they have forgotten your name, and provide them with some help accordingly. First of all, wear your nametag. There’s nothing more frustrating than unexpectedly being unable to use a nametag as crutch for a brain fart.
Secondly, practice the ‘Third Person Trick.’ This involves telling a story or an anecdote about yourself that helps others with your name without them suffering a loss of face. For example:
‘…so when the airport security said, ‘Scott Ginsberg, please come with us for a body cavity search,’ I knew I was in trouble.’
‘Oh thank you for saying your name!’ they silently say to themselves.
Works every time!
Has the other person discovered how similar they are to you yet?
As soon as you can, find out how you’re similar to your conversation partner. You will see it in their eyes. Make sure THEY know there’s something similar. This allows you to focus on how they feel about themselves. So remember these two things: 1) People like others whom they ARE like; and 2) As Napoleon Hill said, ‘You are a human magnet and you are constantly attracting people whose characteristics harmonize with your own.’
Are you satisfying their need to feel appreciated?
The number one hierarchical need of humans is the need to feel appreciated and included – and it’s your job in every conversation, interaction and first impression to satisfy this need.
During a late night shift at the front drive of the Ritz Carlton in St. Louis, several gentlemen asked me to call them a cab downtown. As we waited for the taxi to arrive, one of them asked, ‘So, Scott – got anyone special staying here at the Ritz tonight?’
‘Sir,’ I smiled, ‘All of our guests at the Ritz Carlton are special.’
The group roared in laughter! The man patted me on the shoulder and nodded his head in gratitude.
‘Thanks for that Scott – that’s why we love this hotel!’
It’s All About Them
An Other Orientation is essential for UNFORGETTABLE! First Impressions. If you ask and answer these seven questions, you and your conversation partner will feel like you’ve known each other for years. What’s more, you’ll make them feel appreciated, superior and comfortable while interacting with you – all because you remembered that it ain’t about you!
This article was adapted from Scott Ginsberg’s UNFORGETTABLE! Audio System. To learn about all 6 Essential Elements of Flawless First Impressions, click here.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time a service provider made you feel like a million bucks?