Bad First Impression? Yea You Had Your Finger in Your Nose!

Yes, pick your battles not your nose!

Yes, pick your battles not your nose!

Oh boy. You’ve really stepped in it this time. You screwed up so badly that even your dog rolled his eyes. Yep, you just handed that dreaded bad first impression out on a silver platter. It’s kind of like getting caught picking your nose. Now, you want to just crawl in a hole and die. But don’t pick out that tombstone just yet. Every dog should have a few fleas, and we all blow it sometimes. Here’s what to do about it:

Kill Your Presentation, Not Your Audience

Does this video look familiar? The Transformers director, Michael Bay, walks off stage after an apparent autocue error, and later admits he “embarrassed himself”. Now, that can be an understatement! But let’s face it, panic attacks can be our worst enemy when giving a presentation.

So, how do we overcome it?

Remember, It’s your moment!

It’s time to give the big presentation and land those new clients or score that big deal. You know your sh**! Presentation skills matter as much as the quality of your information.

Here’s how to give a killer presentation:

The Piss Poor Handshake

So you already know that first impressions mean a little something something in the world of business. In the first few minutes of meeting you, people size you up, determining—sometimes even without realizing they’re doing it—whether you are the type of person they want to get to know or do business with. Your clothes, your smile, your verbal greeting all play a role in making a great first impression. Even if you get an A rating on all the above, a piss poor handshake will definitely bring your rating down to a what the heck was that?!

ABC Equals Always Be Cool or…Does It?

cattitude 1

I was sitting in my home office one night, really just worn out and tired of the go, go, go! The phone rang, and I answered it, in no mood to deal with the situation I knew was on the other line. But I answered it and dealt with it. It was about a marketing project I was working on with two other people, and the cat who’d just called had nothing to do with this particular project and had no skills to contribute to it. Somehow, though, he’d gotten wind of it and decided he was going to give his opinion as to why we should go in a different direction.

I finished the call, and as I reflected on the conversation, I realized I had just been a jerk. Not saying the person on the other end didn’t have it coming to him, what with the way he presented it to me, but I still felt badly about the way I handled it. And then my youngest daughter came walking in.

Now first of all, let me tell you a little something about my youngest daughter, who is the ripe old age of 17 now. This child is one of the coolest cats who ever hit the planet. Yeah, I know every parent thinks the same thing about his or her kid. But she really is the calmest person I have ever encountered in my life. She takes no crap from anyone, though. If you don’t believe me, ask the ex-boyfriends. I have seen them come with picnic baskets full of love, opinions and intentions and end up leaving with those same baskets full of renewed opinions and understanding.

Now, that doesn’t mean she turns into one of those mean girls. It just means she knows how to get her point across without being mean and helps them understand why things just won’t work out if they continue on that particular path. She shows them why, for the well-being of both parties, it would be beneficial to change their way of thinking or maybe just move on.

But let’s go back to that evening in my office. She walks in as I’m staring at my phone, and she sits down in front of me and says, “So I hear, from the hallway, you’re having a lovely day.”
I smile and say, “Honey, I never see you get upset or loud with anyone. I wish I had more of your personality.” She says, “Well, Dad, you just gotta learn how to execute the ABCs in a nicer way.”
Without really listening to her explanation, I nod my head and assume this means Always Be Cool.
She smiles, gets a call on her phone, and leaves my office with her cell phone at her ear.

A couple of days later, we’re standing in the kitchen and I tell her that I was going to write about her Always Be Cool comment. She looks at me and says, “I didn’t say that.” So I reminded her of our conversation, and she said, “I told you ABC stands for this is an A+B Conversation, so please C your way out.”

Hearing that come out of her mouth floored me! All I could think of was how proud Donald Trump would be of her saying this to someone.

The next thought was how could this calm, cool, polite child really ever tell someone this. Then I reflected back on the original conversation she overheard, and I realized all she was doing was summarizing the comments I had made on the phone call she overheard and reminding me of something I told her many years ago.

This made me immediately revisit my previous feelings from the aftermath of my phone conversation. If you remember, I was feeling like a jerk when I got off the phone. The truth of the matter is that I was right in telling him to basically butt out, but the problem was I broke one of my self-imposed golden rules: keep your words nice and sweet because you may have to eat them one day!

As human beings, we all make mistakes, and that’s one of the biggest ways we learn in life. Still, as business owners, the consequences of our actions will determine the outcome of our businesses in very negative ways if not handled with care and precision.

We need to be more mindful of our actions and reactions than Joe Blow who works at the local fast food joint. Old Joe can make a mistake and at the worst just get fired. If this happens to him all he has to do is learn from his mistake, go out, get another job, and make sure he doesn’t screw up at his new job. Not saying Old Joe’s job was not that important to him. I’m sure it was. But let’s face it, Old Joe hasn’t just risked thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and possibly years of building his reputation as a creator, innovator, and playmaker in his field of expertise.

All that said, we must stay true to our convictions, our direction, and our obligations while always being mindful of everyone (and everything) who will be impacted as we attempt to reach our goals. An entrepreneur is a leader not a follower. We don’t follow the norm in life. We don’t understand the I can’ts or the it will never works. All we know is we have no option but to make it work, so it’s hard to hear and understand those comments. Even so, it’s equally important to understand why and from what perspective a comment like that is coming.

In the case of my phone conversation, I forgot more than just my self-imposed golden rule: Keep your words nice and sweet because you may have to eat them one day. I also forgot The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I got a wake up call that day in the kitchen from a 17-year-old kid.

You can stand on the tallest mountain and roar like a lion, but if you don’t remember your ABCs, you might find yourself hearing only your own echo. And I have never heard of a successful company being built by one person alone.

So, yes, the ABCs have two meaning these days. But I personally like the one that means ALWAYS BE COOL!

About Charles

csCharles Strickland, a devoted husband and father, has been active in the business world since the mid-80s, building two successful contracting companies and using his passion for those less fortunate to found The National Aids Awareness Center, spearhead The Children’s Wish Come True Foundation and run Hope 4 the Homeless. Charles has also put his caring spirit and head for finance to work helping low-income families become homeowners. He is currently a co-owner of Michigan Marketer, and other online publications.

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Now, I’m not judging, but if you see “SEO” and think it means “see everything online,” hold up a bit.

There are some things I need to break down for you. First, SEO actually means search engine optimization, which encompasses the steps you take to get your website ranked higher so that your target audience can actually see you, realize you exist, and hopefully bring you their money. If you’ve been wishing for more traffic for ages, it’s time to stop. If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets. As it stands, we actually have to work for the traffic we want, and that starts with SEO.

I Ain’t Never and I Probably Never Will

I Ain’t Never and I Probably Never Will

You know how you work best and you know what works for you. You are the boss. You pay the bills, so make sure you build and maintain a team that understands this and works with you. There’s nothing worse than an employee who either thinks he or she is running the show or just doesn’t care enough to get on board. And then there are those employees who constantly have you scratching your head, wondering how many times they were dropped on their heads as babies.