How To Leave A Lasting Impression
Who are the people that have made an impression on you.
Maybe it’s someone you’ve met just one time.
And they you still remember little things about them. You still remember how they made you feel. What they made you think. How they made you act after the encounter.
Were they trying to do that or did it just happen to occur?
Either way, it seems powerful to leave a lasting impression on others. For business. For personal life.
So how does one do it?
No Time Limit
I’ve read articles and books about successful people. Some that have made impressions on others and some that haven’t. You get a sense of others when you talk to people they’ve been around.
For good or bad, right or wrong, many politicians have the power to leave a lasting impression when they meet others. Especially in one on one settings.
Something I’ve read about politicians is that the best ones often make you feel like they have all the time in the world for you. Obviously most people don’t have all the time in the world. Successful people are often busy. They have a lot of things they could be doing with their time.
But the ones that leave an impression seem to be the ones that act as if they have all the time in world.
And think about your interactions with others. Especially in the world of smartphones. It’s not a good feeling when the person we’re talking to looks at their phone. Yet we do it all the time to each other. And before that we would glance at our watch. A moment’s thought of what time is it and when will this be over.
Leaving a lasting impression is making someone feel like they have your entire attention. You shut the rest of the world out and you don’t care how long it takes.
By doing this you can even make a short period, say a few minutes, feel like a long time. And you can make an impression.
Let’s say you’re going to a meeting to make a big sales pitch. You will probably spend a couple minutes in the lobby with the receptionist.
You can make a lasting impression with that person with a good interaction. If you give that person your entire attention as if you had all the time in the world it will be good for them and good for you.
It takes practice. You have to give up some control of time and immerse yourself in the conversation. And that comes with a few other tips below.
Show Curiosity, Don’t Judge
I think good listening is a reaction to curiosity.
Sometimes curiosity comes easy. We talk with someone that does something we’re truly interested in. For example, if I were to meet a professional golfer I would be very interested in asking them about their profession. I wouldn’t have to try to be curious.
But if someone was a landscaper, for example, I probably wouldn’t be instantly interested and curious. But I’ve been trying to find little nuggets of curiosity with everyone I meet.
So if someone tells me they’re a landscaper I’ll ask them how they make mulch different colors. I’ll ask them what the driver is for making a profit. Are some things more profitable than others or is it all based on man hours spent working.
I can bring it back to something I’m interested in. I’m interested in the outdoors so the mulch question might touch on my interest in the outdoors and trees and things like that. I also like business so the profit question can touch on my curiosity in business.
It seems to be about finding connections. Not taking the person completely out of their realm, but finding a way to connection so that you’re both interested in the topic.
And with curiosity naturally comes non-judgement. You don’t want to start asking leading questions where you prepare yourself to judge the person.
Say you hate oil and gas and you’re talking with someone in the drilling industry. You have to be really careful because you might ask questions without being truly curious. There has to be a genuine interest in learning.
Open Your Eyes
This from a psychologist:
The physical feature that is remembered most clearly following initial interactions are our eyes — especially their color. Eyes that are bright and open send a message of curiosity, the desire to get to know someone and let others know you.
That’s pretty powerful. I have bad habit of looking away and averting my eyes in conversation. I know that it makes me look uninterested and unconfident.
And I may be those things a lot of the time. But to leave a lasting impression I need to do the opposite. If I divert my eyes I’m like 95% of the other people the other person talks with in their daily happenings.
This seems to be a trick. Look the person in one eye and really examine their eye. Look at the details. See if you can make a lasting impression of them on yourself.
If you do that then you’ll be making great eye contact and they’ll likely do the same with you.
Build the person up, don’t tear them down.
Nobody likes to be judged or brought down in a conversation or interaction. We remember people that do this for all the wrong reasons and we likely won’t ever want to work with that person. We might want to get back at them, but never work with them in a positive way.
We are attracted to people that make us feel good. That empower us. That make us feel inspired and like we can do anything.
But we have to be careful with building people. Often we can think that we should give advice when the other person may not want advice or may not be ready to receive our advice.
Advice is great. But it usually has to come after the other person has gone through their entire story. They feel like you understand them. And they’ve asked you, often repeatedly for your thoughts on a situation.
Go into conversations thinking about what you can learn from the other person and how you can build the other person up to be better than they were before your conversation.
It’s a bit of a tall task, but even if you leave the other person feeling a little bit better you’ll have a good chance of being memorable.
Take Unique Positions
If you’re like everyone else you’ll fade into the background.
This can come in the form of the questions you ask and in the answers you give to questions. Or the responses you give to expressions and statements.
When the person says, “It sure is raining hard today.”
The common phrase that most of us say is, “It sure is.”
Not very memorable.
But what if we say, “I haven’t seen a rain like this since driveway gave out at my grandparent’s farm.”
That could lead to a story. It’s something the other person probably hasn’t heard a thousand times before.
We remember people that say unusual things. Sometimes a little quirky. Maybe even a little awkward sometimes, but unusual and different. Not the usual cliches that most of trot out when we’re talking with others.
Leaving A Good Impression
Finally, just a note here that it’s best to focus on leaving a good lasting impression. You can certainly leave a bad lasting impression on people. You could insult them. You could be awkward and one-sided in the conversation.
We’re aiming for good lasting impressions. And if your heart is in the right place. If you’re in a place of non-judgement with the goal of learning and building then you’re in the right place to leave a good lasting impression.