Tag Archives: corporate business

First Impressions

Business Handshake

We all know that first impressions are important and that we never get a second chance at making one.  I think about that adage each time I drive past the store of a local business owner.

It all started several months ago when I joined a business networking group and began to contact other members.  My goal was to ask for a brief meeting to introduce myself, to learn about the other business’s product or service, and to explore how we can help each other grow our businesses.

One of the first businesses I contacted had a new owner who said he was also new to the networking group.  I set a time to meet him at his store. Two weeks later, I showed up at the appointed time.  The guy wasn’t there.

The woman at the store said the owner had left to run an errand.  She didn’t know where he had gone, when he would be back, or that he was scheduled to meet me that afternoon.  After a few minutes of chatter, I left my business card and went on my way.  Sure I was disappointed because my time was wasted, but I’ve screwed up appointments too, so I was willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt.  What happened?  I never heard from him.

Here’s where first impressions are important.  Missing an appointment is minor; it happens to all of us at some point.  Not following up to apologize and perhaps reschedule is major.  My first impression of this business owner is that he’s sloppy and uncaring about details.

Based on my first impression, I know that I will never buy this guy’s product or service.  I also know I won’t ever recommend his business to anyone who could use his product or service because I’m not going to burn my contacts by recommending someone who doesn’t care about how he treats potential customers.

I think about what sort of first impression I want to make on the people I meet. They may never need the service my company offers, but they all know someone who does and I sure don’t want to blow all those future potential relationships by making a lousy first impression.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy.

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The #1 Leadership Advantage Women Have Over Men

Deb Fish 6-22-14

So much is said and written about what makes women more or less effective leaders than men. It is, after all, still a man’s world when it comes to most leadership positions. Women’s leadership aptitude is compared to men’s because—like it or not—men have set the standard.

But there is at least one area where women arguably beat the standard the men have set: women are better listeners on the whole, and listening leaders earn their followers’ trust most readily and engender more support from them. Indeed, effective listening is integral to many of the leadership competencies at which women have been found to excel.

Let’s face it, you are only a leader if other people are following you and you are influencing their direction. A title does not confer leadership, even if it confers some authority, so you can’t rely on a nifty title to make people follow you. Plus, even without a title, it’s possible to be a very effective leader.

Being an effective listener doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily quieter than others, though it might. What it really means is that you respectfully attend to what’s being said and not said, you ask questions to clarify what you hear, and you respond in ways that make the other person feel heard.

As a woman, here’s how your natural aptitude for listening can set you apart as a leader:

• You will understand better than others how your colleagues view initiatives, their roles, company objectives, etc. You will be tapped into all of the talent around you.

• You will be aware of what factors affect your colleagues’ commitment to, and effectiveness in, their roles.

• You will be known as someone who values others’ opinions and input, thereby making others trust you, seek out your counsel, and be more inclined to embrace your ideas over others’.

• You will more often meet your business objectives because people will work harder for you and you will have their allegiance.

All of this extra effectiveness comes from one skill; a skill that women come by naturally. Leverage this talent you have; don’t discount it; use it wisely to create real value for your organization.

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