Whenever I speak on Networking, I talk about FILTERS. What is a filter? A filter is how someone will see you for as long as they know you, based upon their initial perception of you. The old expression, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” means much more than most of us ever realize.
Let’s say I met you in a waiting room and you were extremely pleasant, interesting and caring. We decided to meet later for coffee. At the coffee shop, you become abusive to our server. I will chock it off, thinking you must be having a hard time or that something is troubling you. In essence, I will excuse your behavior. Why? Because the first time I met you, you were so nice! And if you are nasty to others the next ten times I’m with you, I may still believe you are just having a bad day or a hard time.
On the other hand, if the first time I met you, regardless of your circumstances, you were abusive, nasty, impatient or rude, and the next ten times I see you, you behave perfectly pleasant, I may feel you are putting on airs, pretending to be someone you’re not.
For as long as someone knows you, they will see you through the filter that was created that very first time you met. THIS is why it is critically important for you to always be on your best behavior when out in public and especially at networking events or other business functions. You will never get a second chance to make a first impression!