Making an Impact

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There are opportunities we face each day that allow us to make an impact on the lives of others. How we impact others is up to us. It requires a conscious effort on our part to decide if we are going to leave a legacy of good or bad. Whichever you decide, be sure to thoroughly think through who you are and what you want others to remember about you.

Creating a Powerful First Impression

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Although some don’t like to admit it, many are greatly concerned with the first impression that is made to a new acquaintance. The impact one leaves can be the difference between getting and not getting a job or obtaining and not obtaining a contract for your company. There are several factors to keep in mind when meeting someone for the first time, whether it is through electronic means or face-to-face.

Physical Appearance: It is unfortunate but true that when you are in a face-to-face meeting, you are initially judged on your physical appearance. Always err on the side of caution and present yourself in a conservative light. Avoid flamboyant clothing, jewelry, and make-up. Even though you may be confident in your abilities, these things can send the message that you are unprofessional and not capable of performing the job.

Body Language: Many times, body language speaks so much louder than words. From posture to facial expressions, the message being conveyed can be completely different from the intended message. So, it’s important to be aware of how your body is positioned as well as the messages it gives. In addition to posture and facial expressions, be mindful of your eye contact and the tone, pitch and speed of your voice.

Although posture and eye contact may not be as important when you are communicating on the phone, your facial expressions can be very apparent. Smiling while talking is an easy thing to do that says you are professional.

The first handshake should be firm enough to show you are confident, but not so firm that it cuts circulation to the other person’s fingers. Be sure to include good eye contact while you are shaking hands.

Spoken Words: This is one of the more obvious but neglected aspects of the first impression. Focusing too much time on your physical appearance or body language can cause you to forget to choose your words carefully. Choosing your words carefully is not about you withholding your true self, but remembering there are some situations that require you to be more politically correct or proper. Stay away from the slang you would use with friends or in other less formal situations.  Also avoid using too much jargon or words not typically used in everyday language, as this may cause the listener to tune out what you are saying for the mere fact that they cannot understand you.

Assessing a Situation

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Before deciding on the path to take to approach a situation, one must first assess it. Is it worth doing anything about? How will it impact me or others? The overall goal is to be effective when dealing with issues, so make sure you know what you are getting into before embarking on the journey.

The best way to assess a situation is to step away from it. Take yourself out of the equation in order to fully understand what it is about and the effect it will have. This can allow you to make a more reasonable decision rather than one based on emotions.

Being Zealous without Being Offensive

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Being a zealous person is a good quality, but being overly zealous can not only send a negative message to others, it may be considered offensive. Every manager would like to hear that their employees are excited about work. This sends the idea that the employees will focus on ‘getting the job done’. However, ‘getting the job done’ is not the most important thing, ‘getting the job done’ correctly is. The drive to work fast can be a down fall of being overly zealous, as sometimes the individual may lose the focus on quality. The positive side is this individual can bring to the team a renewed excitement that was once lost. 

With everything in life, you must strive for balance, not extremism on either end of the spectrum. This balance will not only bring internal stability for you, but it will also allow you to maintain equilibrium within your relationships.

Case Study

Theo had a job interview today. When he showed up, he was dressed in a fine suit and was properly groomed. He carried himself with confidence, and showed the interviewer his appreciation at the chance to become a part of the company. While he demonstrated that he was very excited to start work, he also made it clear that his number one priority would be to do quality work more than quantity. The interviewer found that to be a very interesting and valuable quality, and Theo was hired within the week.