Instant impact is hard to rewind!
I am sure none of the following first impression faux-pas will ever apply to you, but here is a reminder of how to make a negative instant impact.
It is so easy to set up a barrier between you and those you 'communicate' with - it can happen in an instant. It is not so easy to pull that barrier down - so best not to create it in the first place.
3 instant negative impact behaviours
1. Poor eye contact
Some people are shy - but that is not an excuse! If you know your shyness means you struggle with making eye contact - then see a coach - work on it! There are ways of becoming more relaxed with eye contact.
If you are not shy but fail to make proper eye contact - then why? Trust me - you need to check this out. It is such a trust breaker. There is something a bit 'suspect' about a person who can't make eye contact. It can also appear 'rude'. Not good. You don't have to stare mind you - it all needs to feel relaxed and coming from an authentic and present place.
2. Talking too much
Confidence - yes.
Taking over and ignoring the person you are with - no.
If you become aware of the sound of your voice being the only sound - stop talking!
I am a good listener - but I have to work on this consciously. It would be easy for me to get enthusiastic and just be on a roll talking about something... but I am aware of this and I only go for it if I have been asked to! Nothing wrong with enthusiasm - but you have to let the other person in - what do they think? Have they experienced this? Do they get what you mean? 'Enough about me... I am interested to know more about you'...
3. Talking politics and prejudice
Aargh! Not suggesting you should be a 'yes' person with no views... but there is a time and place.
Even if you think you have been given the green light to express a political view or comment about a 'person, company or group of people' - don't... it could be a trap! Change the subject - without being uppity about it. Once you let that judgment come out of your mouth you can't take it back - and you have sent out a message that you are careless with confidentiality, not to be trusted and lacking in basic rapport building skills. You have been unprofessional - and it could be a costly mistake.
There are plenty of ways of being human, authentic and likable without swimming into this shark pool.
The above are based on real and recent experiences.
The key to all of this is self-awareness. But what if you are not the one doing it - what do you do... walk away?
Do you interrupt and say - 'stop talking!'?
I do think we do need to start being a little bolder about drawing attention to some of the ways people might be blowing it ... but that will depend on the situation.
Sometimes you might just use a bit of negative body language, bring the conversation to a swift close and move on!
I work with clients who want to role play challenging conversations or check out all aspects of their communication impact. Let's talk.