You Only Get One Chance to Make a Good First Impression

3 min read • May 02, 2013 • Guest Post

Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR.  In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.

Years ago one of the shampoo companies that helps eliminate dandruff used the tagline, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

One of my more senior colleagues said the same thing to me at the first press conference I attended after I started working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC). As the press conference was starting I was distributing materials to the media and introducing myself.  My colleague emphasized to me that this would be the media’s first impression of me and told me, “You only get this one chance to make a first impression, make it count.”

I took that to heart and have never forgotten the advice.  In fact, it’s paid huge dividends for me over the course of my career.

My colleague wanted to make sure I was introducing myself and telling these reporters my name.  I was.  To me it was common sense.  I’ve come to find that it’s not common sense for everybody though.

As I’ve written about in the past, I work part time for the Utah Jazz and its PR staff. A few years ago while Jerry Sloan was still coaching, after one of the games Coach Sloan was standing outside the locker room after addressing the media.  The head of security walked up to Coach Sloan and said, “Hey Jerry, I want you to meet my son, he’s going to be a part of the security team moving forward.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 7.37.41 AMCoach Sloan smiled, stuck his hand out and said, “Hi, I’m Jerry Sloan, nice to meet you.”  The new employee stuck his hand out, shook Coach Sloan’s hand.  He didn’t say anything in response to Coach Sloan.  He kind of smiled but that was about it.

Coach Sloan proceeded to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

The new employee looked at Coach Sloan and kind of muttered his name.  It wasn’t very audible and was kind of muffled so Coach Sloan said, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you, what was your name?”

This time the new employee spoke up and told Coach Sloan his name.  Coach Sloan responded that it was a pleasure meeting him and expressed that he was looking forward to working with him in the future.

The new employee kind of smiled and said something along the lines of, “yeah.”

I thought it was an interesting interaction.  Everybody in the building probably knew who Jerry Sloan was but he still took the time to introduce himself and didn’t take for granted that the new employee knew who he was.  Coach Sloan’s response was exactly the way an introduction should be handled to make that good first impression.

Contrast that to the new employee.  He did everything wrong and the first impression he left on me was that he was inexperienced and awkward.

With this in mind, I tell all my clients to be aware of these type of situations and do introduce themselves the proper way.  Be confident, tell people your name even if you think they already know who you are, shake their hand and listen to or ask what their name is.  In essence, do everything in their power to make that good first impression.  Afterall, you only get that one chance to make a good first impression.

Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+


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