Manner Monday: Is a Good First Impression All that Matters?

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Today’s Manner Monday tackles a recent question from a reader about first impressions.

I’m feeling a bit flustered and bamboozled.  I had a meeting scheduled with a new Business Coach to talk about her services and get started on a coaching program. We scheduled a 30-minute meeting for 1:30 at a local café to be able to fit a quick get-together so we could meet face-to-face after emailing and talking on the phone. Knowing that time was tight, I arrived a few minutes early and got a table for us so we could make the most of our time together. She arrived a few minutes late, which I can understand (I’ve been late before too). We had barely said our hellos when she excused herself ‘for a minute’ because she saw a gentleman across the room she needed to say hi to. Her “minute” was in reality more like ten minutes. By the time she returned to our table, I was ready to tell her what challenges I was facing and see how she could help.  Instead she spent the next 15 minutes telling me about her career as a business coach and how she can teach me proper time management, etc. Then she looked at her watch and said, “Wow, I can’t believe it, it’s already 2 o’clock, I have to run to my next appointment, I’ll shoot you an email with some meeting times for our next meeting so we can get started.” Really? I had a great first impression of her by our email and phone conversations. I really thought she was going to be a good fit for me but after that interaction, I’m really second guessing things. Am I being unrealistic? – Jenn

My first thought is, trust your instincts. You’ve probably heard that phrase “there’s never a second chance for a first impression.” It’s true, but that’s not the only element to the equation when it comes to making important decisions… business decisions and otherwise. While it sounds like her first impression via email and the phone were great, basic professionalism and common courtesy are just as important as a first impression. Everybody’s time is just as valuable as the next person’s. It sounds like she dropped the ball and you should consider that as you move forward with your search for a business coach. Good luck!

First impressions, common courtesy, and respecting another person’s time, are all three critical components in maintaining a mutually beneficial business relationship.

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