By Debra W. Gould, MS
What kind of first impression do you make on others? Have a guess? Research shows that this first seven- to-17-second interaction is critical. For example, a 2009 study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that factors ranging from clothing style to posture play a role in how impressions are formed. Having a handle on the kinds of impressions you make can go a long way toward advancing your career.
Today we are passing along four first-impression tips:
1. Be careful with humor. Although a quip or two might serve as an icebreaker, stay away from sarcastic remarks that could backfire. Because you don’t know a stranger’s sensitivities, prolonged joking might establish barriers you can’t overcome, either now or later.
2. Give up the need to be right. Confrontations with somebody you’ve just met will destroy rapport before you even start building it. Wait until you have established credibility before you challenge another’s statements.
3. Appearance counts. Several years ago, a professional colleague offered to meet me for lunch. I decided against wearing a suit, opting for a business casual dress. When he showed up in shorts and sandals, the message he conveyed was: “Joe, meeting you is a rather ordinary experience and doesn’t call for me to present a business-like appearance.” Follow this rule of thumb: don’t dress for the job you have now, dress for the job you want to have.
4. Be aware of your speaking style and how it affects the first impression. Listeners judge our intelligence, our cultural level, our education, even our leadership ability by the words we select—and by how we say them. Rather than mumble, speak so you’re easily heard. Enunciate clearly. Alter your pitch to avoid the dullness of a monotone. Display animation in both voice and facial expression. Gesture naturally, without “canning” your movements.
When you make a good first impression, you’ll open the doors to opportunity, connection and success.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and
By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP
The Civil War ended in 1865, and now more than 150 years later the battle flag of the Southern states is still at the crossroads in South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and elsewhere. From license plates to T-shirts to flags, the "stars and bars" remains a hateful symbol of slavery to the Black community.
With the execution of nine innocent African Americans merely attending Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, the killer was a 21 year old White supremacist who cherished the Confederate flag.
With racial hatred and gun violence robbing this country of true progress, it’s time to take down the Confederate Flag and park it in a museum where it belongs.
For More On The Various Versions of the Confederate Flag Visit:
By Michelle Porchia
We are taught to talk. We are not taught to listen. When we think we are listening, we are really thinking about how we are going to respond. What has always been a puzzle for me is what is a person responding to if they are not listening to what the other person is saying? Usually they either think they know what the person is going to say or they think they’ve heard “enough” to reply. This can be the start of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and possibly the start of conflict. How many times have you said to someone “that’s not what I said.” Often it is what the person “heard” or thought they heard.
There are a few popular talk show hosts that either interrupt their guests while they are speaking, answer the question they have just asked them or lead them on. (“Don’t you agree that…” What if the guest doesn’t agree?) Don’t get me wrong, I have much respect for all the hosts. However, it is very irritating when the host asks an expert a question and then proceeds to answer it himself. One popular talk show I found increasingly difficult to watch because the hosts all talked at the same time and you couldn’t really hear the discussion and/or the answers. When some of the hosts were replaced, the new hosts had a little more respect for each other and would let the others finish their statements. They actually started taking turns. The point: Listen to the other person. If you ask them a question, allow them to answer the question. One person speaks at a time.
Five Steps to Becoming a Better Listener:
Moving forward, let’s be mindful of our listening. Let’s listen to hear and to understand.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” ~Stephen Covey
By Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, RCC
Positioning yourself for success is necessary in a competitive world where change is the only constant. Being in position is about being open to the importance of reinventing and retooling your skills to improve your marketability in your career and business. It is about knowing what your strengths are and how to leverage them in helping you achieve success. What position are preparing for as you move forward? What do you need to do to make sure you are ready for the position you desire? Consider the following strategies for positioning yourself for success.
1. Plan for success.
This requires sitting down and deciding what you want to achieve in your career and business. It is about setting specific goals with milestones along the way to make sure you are on track to have the success you desire. It is about speaking words that are creating the success you desire. It requires doing a data dump of old scripts and information from your past and downloading new software in your mind that is filled with unlimited possibilities that are available to you with your new plan of action.
2. Create a circle of eagle thinkers.
Positioning yourself for success requires evaluating your inner circle of people you spend time with. It is important to create a group of eagle thinkers that might also be called your mastermind group. These are individuals who will challenge you, encourage you, and inspire and ignite you to tap into your hidden potential. These are individuals who are positive thinkers and possibility thinkers who recognize and celebrate the greatness inside of you.
3. Learn the art of connecting in building relationships.
More than ever before, business and career opportunities happen because of relationships. It is vital that you become a savvy networker that knows the art of connecting and cultivating meaningful relationships. When meeting people at events spend time learning about them and what they do and establish a connection so there will be dialogue beyond that conversation. As you make the connection and follow up, that contact over time can lead to a contract. Take your time and find ways to add value as you nurture the relationship and watch it grow.
4. Ask for help. You don't have to do everything yourself.
So many times we feel as women, we can do it all. We have the superwoman complex. If that is you, stop and exhale and do something special just for you this month. You don't have to be all things to all people all the time. Balance things out and get your family and friends involved to help you out. Learn the art of how to say NO graciously and be willing to ask for help. It is amazing when we learn to do this, the load we carry becomes lighter and our stress level decreases. It gives us the freedom and momentum to soar.
5. Have a strong spiritual foundation to keep you anchored.
It is essential to have a strong spiritual foundation to navigate through the constant and rapid change in our lives, careers, and businesses. You must know with all certainty that God is your source, strength and shield and that as you walk with Him all things are possible. Stay anchored in your faith walk, stay true to your purpose, and position yourself to be ready for the great things God has in store for you. A strong spiritual foundation equips and empowers you to win!
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.