You approach one another, you and Ted each has the opportunity to assess the other’s physical characteristics, tone of voice, demeanor, etc. You’ll also experience Ted’s handshake technique (firm but not hard, never limp, hold for 2 – 3 seconds and release), and have an opportunity to assess facial expressions in greater detail and listen to their voice.
Even though it has only been a few seconds, by this time you both have processed a great deal of information and preliminary assessments and decisions are forming rapidly.
As you are walking to where your discussion will take place, you and Ted have already reached your initial conclusions about each other. Unless something has truly triggered you, these conclusions are amorphous, lacking solid shape and boundary, and are subject to modification. Nothing is set in concrete yet, but the cement is hardening all the time.
If Ted’s impression of you is negative, his desire (and ability) to fully engage and effectively communicate with you is greatly reduced.
The techniques we’re looking at in these posts help you shape or manage this preliminary phase of the meeting in a manner that will greatly improve the odds the prospect’s first impression of you is positive. With this achieved, there is the opportunity to quickly form an initial degree of constructive rapport and begin communicating on a similar wavelength.
Up to this point in the process you both have been responding almost exclusively to visual cues and interpreting them through the prism of your life experience.
Do you have a thing about people with red hair, and the prospect has red hair? If that’s the case, you can’t help but take that into consideration when you form your first impressions.
It is important to note that at this point both you and Ted have been operating at a reactive and emotional level. The logical side of your brain hasn’t been engaged yet in any meaningful way. In Part 5 we will continue to explore how the relationship is affected as the meeting continues to unfold.