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How to recover from a Bad Impression

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Oh no it’s happened! You have incorrectly copied someone on an email (about them), you have asked when is her due date and she is not pregnant! You’ve messed up and have made an awful first impression. Don’t despair; use these damage control strategies which will allow you to show your face in public again: The Costly Career Limiting Mistake Example: You have a strategic client meeting that you have prepared a meeting pack for which contains crucial decision-making information. Minutes before starting the meeting you realize that there are missing pages and you are short of packs. • Correcting the situation takes priority. Do whatever it takes to fix what has occurred. • Be accountable. People are often very forgiving when you owe up to your mistake. • Make a plan. Highlight how you have corrected the situation, as well as procedures you have put into place to avoid a repeat. • Follow through and deliver on your promises • NEVER pass the buck. You will alienate your colleagues and serve only to label yourself as untrustworthy • Immediately apologise. The more time passes, the more offended or angry others might get • Keep the apology short. Don’t grovel for forgiveness every time you see the parties concerned-you will make them feel uncomfortable after a while • Don’t assume. So, instead of saying, “You must think I’m a complete idiot.” rather say, “I’m embarrassed about what happened, I hope I did not inconvenience you in any way” • DON’T make a joke of the situation as this gives the impression that you don’t really care that you have messed up • Avoid repeating the same mistake again. Overcoming a bad impression requires that your future actions are consistent with how you want others to see you • Move on, rehashing the episode keeps your mistake upper most in the minds of others and damages your reputation further Impression Bandages Some situations may make you feel uncomfortable. Identifying these helps prepare you for them. Example: Meeting new people, forgetting someone’s name or presenting to a group • Inform whom you are interacting with, “Please excuse me I get a little tongue tied when meeting new people”. This will certainly ease yours and their discomfort •  Focus on how others think and feel.  Put the spotlight on them and off you. E.g. use more “you” words rather than “I” or “me”  eg “How do YOU view the strategy plan?” •  Make sure that your body language is in sync with your message, use open gestures, make good eye contact, nod and lean towards the person •  If there was no specific reason why the interaction didn’t go well a general “My apologies our first meeting didn’t go smoothly” or “I must be getting old-your name has just escaped me for a second” Be honest. Common Turnoffs to Avoid… • Forgetting other’s names • Complaining about a hangover • Conversing in front of others in a language not understood by them • Looking up at clock, checking watch continuously during a meeting • Fiddling with jewellery • Clicking your pen repeatedly • Examining or playing with your hair • Chewing gum – makes you appear as if you don’t take things seriously • Eating- at your desk, whilst you are walking or during a meeting • Shouting, laughing loudly in open plan environment • Telling racist, sexist jokes Time is a great healer and as long as your subsequent behaviour and interactions are positive you may be able to outweigh your original negative impression. Showing respect and paying sincere attention will help in remedying a painful situation. Your success depends largely on the first impressions that you create. Our tailor-made programmes will guarantee that your first impression is a memorable and lasting one. For more information contact us on  Tel: 011 467 5126 or email: haydee@profimp.co.za     www.profimpressions.co.za To read more inspiring articles on fashion, click here

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