Join LinkedIn Learning Instructors for an in-depth discussion in this video Overcoming a Bad First Impression, part of 2-Minute Tips for Senior Leaders.
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We've all heard that rather ominous sentiment, but the good news is it's only partially true. It's not easy to change a first impression, particularly if your interaction went badly, but it's not impossible. I'm Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, and Stand Out. Here are three things you can do to change the dynamics and get people to take a second look at who you are and what you're capable of. First off, you have to start spending more time with the person you've alienated.
That might feel counterintuitive and downright unpleasant because no one loves hanging out with someone who isn't that keen on them. In fact, you might even want to hide from that person and spend less time with them. But it's the wrong move. The reason is that people only change their opinion of you when they're forced to, but if you spend more time with them such as volunteering to serve on a committee with them, it gives them more exposure to you in a favorable light which can trigger a reevaluation. Next, it's unfortunate, but you're going to need to overcompensate in order to get people to look at you in a different way.
For instance if you started a new job and came in late every day of your first week, it might have been for a very good reason like your car was being repaired. Someone just meeting you doesn't know that you're usually reliable though. So to change their narrative, just getting in on time in the future won't cut it. You need to overcompensate and get in really early for weeks or even months afterward. Finally, sometimes you have to wait it out and persevere. When you're patient and give people time to see that you're different than they originally imagined, that can often make the difference.
Overcoming a bad first impression is hard, but it isn't impossible. By following these strategies, you're far more likely to be successful.