Tag Archives: first impressions

My TED Talk: The Long Life of First Impressions

The importance of interpersonal skills in today’s tech-world cannot be underrated or undervalued, and that’s why I focused my recent TED Talk on them.  Please take a moment to view and learn about “The Long Life of First Impressions”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuG-BHquAHU 
If you like it, please ‘like’ it and share to your social networks, or directly on YouTube. Let’s spread the idea!  Much appreciated!

Are You the Director of First Impressions?

“Director of First Impressions”

I snapped this picture a few weeks ago while i was visiting my local Scotiabank branch here in Toronto.  I’m not sure how widely used this new labelling is – maybe it’s a national or even international initiative – but it’s eye-catching to say the least.  For me I immediately responded to it because as you know I’m a big fan of interpersonal skills, and I run a coaching program and a workshop entitled “The Art of Small Talk & Winning First Impressions.”  The focus of the training, which has been running since 2007, has always been to help those with technical skills or social shyness to improve their business or social interactions, and leave a lasting positive impression.  This is important to build and enhance relationships in our network or social circle.

What I find interesting is that a bank has chosen to change the typical ‘Help Desk‘ label to this new title, since banks provide a large portion of my clientele.  🙂  Yes, I’ve trained many accountants, financial advisors and planners, wealth management managers, auditors, consultants and the list goes on.  Not only are soft skills extremely important for client engagement in the banking industry, but also for team cohesion.

I love this new sign as to me it signifies the bank wants to be more approachable and communicative with it’s customers, and also – that it is aware that the first person we speak to is indeed the Director of First Impressions.  🙂

Are you the Director of First Impressions at your place of business?  Are you good at it?  Or is there a better fit for this role in the office somewhere?  These are some questions I’d like you to ask yourself and your team while examining who speaks to customers first and how do they interact with the typical customer.

The Art of Small Talk and Deeper Conversation

My friend and fellow Communication Expert Mark Bowden was recently on the TV show The Social, and revealed some great verbal and non-verbal communication tips for us to use or avoid when in conversation.  Many people have a difficult time with the art of small talk, not only with getting the conversation started, but with keeping it going and making it more meaningful.  This lack of confident communication can affect us both at work and in our social lives.

One of my most popular communication coaching programs (and has been for a number of years) is called “The Art of Small Talk & Winning First Impressions.”  It’s no wonder it’s so popular – small talk is no small matter!  🙂  If this topic interests you and you would like to improve your soft skills, here are some useful links for you to explore.  Enjoy!

Link One – The Art of Conversation on The Social (article and Mark’s TV appearance):

http://www.thesocial.ca/real-life/relationships/the-art-of-conversation

Link Two – Just the video:

Link Three – A little about my interpersonal coaching programs, and how to connect with me to request a brochure and set up a free initial consultation if interested:

http://communicationcoach.ca/#interpersonal

Link Four (and more)Effective Communication Skills – Never be Stuck for Words Ever Again! Ebook (epub) by Ric Phillips on iTunes, Nook, Kobo and Lulu (prices vary beyond my control):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/effective-communication-skills/id465102075?mt=11

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/effective-communication-skills-ric-phillips/1113132339?ean=9781257554706

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/effective-communication-skills-never-be-stuck-for-words-ever-again

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ric-phillips/effective-communication-skills-never-be-stuck-for-words-ever-again/ebook/product-20860764.html

PDF Version herehttp://www.lulu.com/shop/ric-phillips/effective-communication-skills-course-workbook/ebook/product-638214.html

Enjoy your small talk more from now on, and have deeper conversations with more impact.

Recovering from a Bad First Impression

Have you ever met someone new at a dinner party, networking function, or a dating event, and they rubbed you the wrong way immediately?  Something they said or did, or they way they spoke or acted, just really turned you off?   Sure, we all have had that experience.
Now let me ask you, do you think the person was truly aware of their negative vibe at the time?  Probably not right?  They probably did not try to upset you on purpose, right?  So if you didn’t tell them afterwards of their bad first impression, then they may never know how they came off, and may even think they made a good impression with you!  They may be a bit confused the next time they see you as to why you are running in the opposite direction! 
My next question is – could this be you?  Is it possible that you accidentally gave an unintended negative first impression with a new co-worker, friend of a friend, or even on a date?  Sure it is.  Now what can be done?
Here are some quick steps to take to recover from a bad first impression, assuming you were made aware of it afterwards.
1 – Evaluate feedback rationally.  Who told you that your first impression was negative?  Was it the principle person, friend or observer?  Consider the source before you condemn yourself.  However if you trust the source, or it comes from the principles’ own mouth, then it is time to move to step two.
2 – Self-evaluate.  Ask yourself what impression were you trying to make, and what went wrong?  Was this a misunderstanding?  Do you do this same thing with other people as well?  Is it time you stopped making excuses for this annoying behaviour and accepted that it needs to be changed?  Write things down to be clear and focused.
3 – Contact.  Send an email or if you are brave enough, a call or face-to-face meeting with your accidental victim.  Acknowledge your specific flaw or quirk and explain that that is not normally how you act, or at least explain that there is more to you than just what they saw that evening, and you would like a second chance to show them the real you.  You are not apologizing for your personality, but you can let someone know that you are aware of your bad first impression, and want to show a more rounded personality instead of just what was revealed during the first meeting.  Most people can really appreciate the bravery and humbleness it takes to do this. 
4 – Modify.  Did you dominate the conversation last time?  Well, next time take a break, ask some questions and listen.  Were you so shy and quiet last time that the person thought you were bored or uninterested?  Then next time you need to be engaged, make lots of eye contact, use active listening skills, and show enthusiasm.  Did the last meeting sound like an interview to the person?  Okay, time to lighten up, stick to general topics for now, and give the person time to open up.  I am not suggesting you act completely the opposite, but try to modify yourself and take steps in the right direction to be more balanced.  This will improve your conversational dynamics.
5 – Try your best.  Continue to try to be aware of your own first impressions, and modify when appropriate.  But also accept the fact that not everyone will like you or get along with you, as there are different personalities out there.  The point is that people do not have to love you, but they should at least feel comfortable with you on a first meeting.
After doing a self-assessment, if you think you need to improve your “art of small talk and winning first impressions”, you may find my customized coaching program helpful.  🙂
Here’s to your confident communications! 

Speaking with Confidence (the 3V Way)

Many people ask me how they can communicate with more confidence when they speak.  They ask if it is a matter of vocabulary choice, of speaking louder, or dressing in a new suit.  Today I would like to give some advice on that subject to you my readers.
First things first – understand that effective communication is not just about one aspect of communication.  It is not enough to just start using “power words” and expect everyone to bow down to your great communication skills, and give in to your new sales pitch.
My company name says it all:  3V Communications.  You need to evaluate how you are communicating verbally, vocally and visually.  Here are some techniques to use to help you speak confidently:
Verbal: 
Do so-called power words help?  Sure.  It is always a good idea to have a deep vocabulary so that you can chose the correct word to give your speech or conversation a concise meaning.  The key is to have a word or phrase that is presented simply, yet it is powerful.  Do not ramble on trying to impress someone with your vocabulary and your knowledge of business lingo.  Short and concise will produce a confident result.  Also use strong, more committed words like “yes”, “will”, “able to”, “100%” etc. and use superlatives as well.   For example:
“The United States is 100% committed to protecting its citizens from terrorists.”
“Toronto is the most multicultural city I have ever seen.”
“Cubans are the best salsa dancers in the world.”
Vocal:
Speak loud enough to be heard by everyone, without yelling.  Speak from your diaphragm, which is an old actors’ technique.  Speak to the person at the back of the room.  When you are speaking confidently you must speak at a medium pace that uses appropriate and dynamic stressing of your key words.  We should also add eye contact and body language gestures to match our stress and intonation.
Examples of important stressing:
“Our company wants to do business with you so let’s make a deal today.”
(Too plain and not enough feeling)
Our company wants to do business with you so let’s make a deal today.” 
(Too much emphasis on you and your company’s desires.  Could come off as pushy.)
Our company wants to do business with you so let’s make a deal today.”
(Much more rhythmic and dynamic when spoken with a firm but friendly voice, and is balanced as well.)
Visual:
Visual communication makes up to 55% of our intended feeling and attitude that is conveyed.  To show confidence you must have great posture, use lots of eye contact, smile often (when appropriate), have hand gestures that are in sync with your verbal and vocal communications, and you must know how to dress for success.  You must understand first and foremost which clothes look and feel best for your body type (i.e. not too tight, not too baggy) and you need to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. 
If you are wearing an item of clothing that you have had for 5 or more years, think very carefully to yourself how others view it before you wear it again.  It is important to realize that some people out there, particularly in the business world, have a keen sense of modern fashion and will judge you based on that if they see you are wearing a splashy tie, baggy slacks, scuffed shoes, a shirt with a collar that is the wrong size, shoulder seams that rest on your biceps, etc. 
For women they also need to be aware of outdated fashion, wearing huge shoulder pads, wearing hair and make-up styles from the 1990s, heavy perfume, and once again not wearing body type-appropriate clothes. 
Since I am not a fashion expert I will simply tell you that there are a number of fashion websites, blogs, books and magazines available as well as image consultants, should you need one.  Most people don’t, fortunately, if they listen to their trendy spouse or friend. I myself have gone through a number of changes in my dress over the last few years, all for the better I assume, because I listened to my fiancée. 
If you are not sure how confidently you are coming across, maybe it is time to ask someone you trust to review your 3Vs and see if there is any way to speak and be seen with more confidence.  If you need me, just let me know.
All the best,

Communicating Confidently in Business

Hello those of you in Toronto/GTA:

This is the last week that we are taking registrations for the upcoming Nov. 8th effective communication skills workshop, downtown Toronto.

You will learn:

How to Communicate with confidence
The art of small talk and winning first impressions
conflict management
assertiveness in communications

Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Yonge/College.
Free lunch, free 1-hr. coaching session too.

Register now for a 20% discount.

http://www.CommunicationCoach.ca

Any Qs, just contact and ask Ric.
Thanks.

Effective Communications Workshop


NOTE: This is the last week to register.

3V Communications Presents:

Communicating Confidently in Business: Learn to Communicate with Charisma and Confidence to Build Your Career Success!
This interactive workshop focuses on building confidence in your communications, people-skills, first impression management and conflict management, plus influence. See website ad for more details and bonuses.

Saturday November 8th 2008, 9-5pm
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Hotel, 475 Yonge St. (@ College),
Toronto, ON M4Y 1X7
Contact Ric Phillips
416.429.7935
ric @ CommunicationCoach.ca

http://www.CommunicationCoach.ca and click on Public Workshops – Toronto

Any Qs? Just ask!

Communicating Confidently in Business – Workshop

3V Communications Presents
An effective communication skills full-day interactive workshop:
Communicating Confidently in Business

Learn to Communicate with Charisma and Confidence to build your Career Success!

November 8th, 2008 – Downtown Toronto Hotel

• Are you unsure if you are being heard and respected at work?
• Do you feel a little insecure or shy sometimes, and feel it is holding you back?
• Do you have difficulty handling stressful situations, arguments or workplace conflict? Do you have trouble saying no?
• Having trouble standing out but still fitting in?
• Are people not listening to you and your ideas, and do you wonder how you can change that?

After this course you will raise both your personal and professional communication skills to the top 10% of the world – and that is where you will find the most successful people in business and in life. Confident communicators are given more responsibility at work, are given promotions and raises more often, and become great business leaders. When you can communicate clearly and confidently, but still do it in a friendly, non-offensive way, you are headed for upper management or other leadership roles.

By the end of Saturday you will be able to:
Understand the importance of first impression management, and create a winning first impression that leaves others wanting to know more about you

Generate small talk easily – so you can enjoy stress-free conversations while you network, turn strangers into friends and build strong teams at work

Increase personal charisma and confidence – real leadership qualities vital in today’s competitive markets

Speak clearly with confident language, tonality and gestures

Use the fundamentals of sales psychology to persuade and influence others, and find out how to implement Aristotle’s 3 keys to persuasion while speaking in public

Manage conflict in a less-stressful way, so you can disagree and say no without offending others or getting into arguments

Be assertive without being aggressive, because nobody respects a bully!

SUMMARY & BONUSES:
you get a full day (9-5) of interactive and dynamic communication training – essential soft skills for today’s world of business

Catered Lunch and two Coffee breaks

Certificate of Completion – showing that you care about your personal and professional development, and have taken steps towards gaining excellent communications and building confidence for success

One Complimentary coaching session to get your personal communications assessed after the workshop is completed

$100 voucher, good towards any one-to-one coaching program or future workshop

Referral program – Do you have a friend or co-worker who would be interested in attending? You are eligible to receive a $50.00 thank you for everyone you send us who signs up and completes the workshop. Our way of thanking you for recommending us to new people

Early-bird special price – regular price is $299 for the day (plus g.s.t.), but we are currently offering an early-bird special price (see website) until October 6th.

Discounted room rate – if interested in staying at the Courtyard by Marriott downtown hotel please contact Ric directly to arrange it

By now, I trust you can see the benefits of developing the knowledge and skills to communicate confidently in business – so what are you waiting for?

To register, click here now. Or if this is not highlighted, just follow this link:
http://www.communicationcoach.ca/pb/wp_a4623824.html?0.9709723454620556
Location: This event will be held at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Hotel, 475 Yonge Street (@ College St.). For a Google map location, click on the address above on my website, http://www.CommunicationCoach.ca

I look forward to meeting you and taking you to the next level of confident communications. Any questions please do not hesitate to call or email me:

Your coach and trainer,
Ric Phillips

Identify Yourself Sooner Than Later

I recently received a phone call from a nice man looking at maybe doing a joint-venture and/or sharing space for workshops and seminars. Although it was a pleasant-enough conversation I would like to remind him and everyone else out there that you must identify yourself at the beginning of your phone call! He confirmed who I was, and then immediately went into his pitch, or reason for calling. It was a little amusing to me at first, but finally after 5 minutes or more chatting I asked “So what is your name?” To which he gave me only his first name. I then was forced to ask the second obvious question “What organization do you represent?” To which he gave me the name and website. So how do you think I felt about his credibility and/or business experience?

This little anecdote serves as a reminder to all of us to always, at the beginning, identify your name (preferably full name with a pause in the middle between your first and last name) and your title if relevant, and finally your company or organization. This sets the right tone for the conversation and avoids confusion. Besides, don’t you want people to know who you are???

Recovering from a Bad First Impression

Have you ever met someone new at a dinner party, networking function, or a dating event, and they rubbed you the wrong way immediately? Something they said or did, or they way they spoke or acted, just really turned you off? Sure, we all have had that experience.

Now let me ask you, do you think the person was aware of their negative vibe at the time? Probably not right? They probably did not try to upset you on purpose. So if you didn’t tell them afterwards of their bad first impression, then they may never know how they came off, and may even think they made a good impression with you! They may be a bit confused the next time they see you as to why you are running in the opposite direction!

My next question is – could this be you? Is it possible that you accidentally gave an unintended negative vibe on a first impression with a new co-worker, friend of a friend, or even a date? Sure it is. Now what can be done?

Here are some quick steps to take to recover from a bad first impression, assuming you were made aware of it afterwards.

1 – Evaluate feedback rationally. Who told you that your first impression was negative? Was it the principle person, friend or observer? Consider the source, before you condemn yourself. However if you trust the source, or it comes from the principles’ own mouth, then it is time to move to step two.

2 – Self-evaluate. Ask yourself what impression were you trying to make, and what went wrong? Was this a misunderstanding? Do you do this same thing with other people as well? Is it time you stopped making excuses for this annoying behaviour and accepted that it needs to be changed? Write things down to be clear and focused.

3 – Contact. Send an email, voicemail or if you are brave enough, a call or face-to-face meeting with your accidental victim. Acknowledge your specific flaw or quirk and explain that that is not normally how you act, or at least explain that there is more to you than just what they saw that evening, and you would like a second chance to show them the real you. You are not apologizing for your personality, but you can let someone know that you are aware of your first impression, and want to show a more rounded personality instead of just what was revealed during the first meeting.

4 – Modify. Did you dominate the conversation last time? Well, it is now time to ask lots of questions and listen. Were you so shy and quiet last time that the person thought you were bored or uninterested? Then next time you need to be engaged, make lots of eye contact, use active listening skills, and show enthusiasm. Did last meeting sound like an interview to the person? Okay, time to lighten up, stick to general topics for now, and give the person time to open up.

5 – Try your best. Continue to try to be aware of you own first impressions, and modify when appropriate. But also accept the fact that not everyone will like you or get along with you, as there are different personalities out there. The point is that people do not have to love you, but they should at least feel comfortable with you on a first meeting.

For anyone experiencing this challenge, I invite you to consider communication coaching. There are things that can be learned to make sure you make a great first impression every time, with anyone. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.