Bad first impression? Try these 3 things and pray!
We have talked earlier about preparation to ensure you make the best first impression as decisions are frighteningly made in the first 1 minute! But what if this didn’t go the way you planned it? Can you still live to tell the tale later?
This can and does happen to all of us at some time or the other – interview, on the job, on a date. At that time you want a time machine to roll it back and start over or for an earthquake to make this seem small in comparison! Maybe we were too keyed up, maybe it was just the chemistry or maybe some unforeseen event threw us off our A-game. Whatever be the reason, we are trying to explore if there is a comeback or we should cut our losses and move on. Let’s find out.
Let’s face it – in all situations there may or may not be a 2nd chance. Job interviews for instance, but we can still try.
- Admit and apologize upfront that you didn’t come across right
I find that coming clean upfront, rather than brushing it under the carpet and dying a thousand deaths during and after the meeting, is way better in recovering lost ground.
Many people on the other side of the table may appreciate your candor and find your situation familiar to them personally. They may well be generous about taking it as a blip and moving on. If people are completely unforgiving then you probably don’t want to associate with them long term anyway! Most right thinking people are disarmed by a frank and forthright apology.
- Overcompensate during the rest of the encounter
It’s said that committing one mistake is an error but to repeat it is a disaster. So without fretting overly about the bad start, you might want to try and outperform during the rest of the meeting. In fact it can be a spur if you have a positive attitude and pride in your capabilities. You certainly want your audience to feel happy to have met you regardless of the final outcome. The reason you are here for this meeting is that you were considered suitable by your audience and nothing has changed.
- Make a humorous self-deprecating remark at the end
Nothing works better to further disarm any residual negativity than the ability to laugh at oneself in a stressful situation. Say something light hearted and smart about your initial performance and move on. Then talk about your interest in the specific purpose of the meeting and how you or what you are selling being valuable to this audience. It’s important to a have a crisp signoff anyway but after a rocky start, even more so. People who met you should remember you as someone who is competent, candid and keen on the current proposition.
If all of the above still don’t get you success, then it probably wasn’t right for you anyway. It’s best to learn from it and move on but at least you have the satisfaction of giving it your best shot.
I would like to hear from you if you have had similar experiences during your life and career and how you tackled it.