We are delighted to share the thoughts of our guest blogger Mike Judd, who weighs in on how great leaders naturally treat others and the value of good first impressions.

Standing_out_from_the_Crowd

Certain people stand out in a crowd.

They take a step forward.
They make eye contact.
They reach to shake hands in an eager and excited way.
As they do, they bow their heads slightly, as if to nonverbally say, “I am so glad to meet you.” They hold the handshake for an extra beat, almost as if they’re reluctant to let go.
They actually say, “I am so glad to meet you.”
They smile. Hugely.
And they keep smiling and making eye contact…because they clearly feel it’s great to meet.

A great leader treats every single person they meet with respect. They have integrity. It makes no difference if they are engaging with the CEO or the mail room guy.

I often meet politicians, movie stars and superstar singers travelling to their next gig. Who do you think I remember? It’s not the ones who are chilly, remote, or detached. It’s the ones who look directly at me and seem to truly want to know me. And you know what? I find myself rising to the occasion.

What if we did the same thing every time we meet someone new? What if we didn’t worry about comparative levels of status or pecking order, didn’t worry about wearing our emotions on our sleeves, didn’t worry about making ourselves vulnerable by possibly coming across a little too sincere or a little too happy?

Most importantly, imagine how the other person would feel if you treated them that way.

The answer to the last question is simple. They would feel great. They would see you as an authentic person. You would not only make a great first impression but also a lasting impression.

After all:

  • We tend to like people who like us.
  • We tend to think well of people who think well of us.
  • We tend to remember the people who think meeting us is something they will remember.

All of this takes practice. It takes conscious awareness. When I meet people, I try to seem comfortable in order to make them feel more comfortable. After awhile, I find that I really am comfortable. Not only that, I’m confident. I’m skilled at connecting with others because I do it every day in my work.

Unfortunately, confidence is conditional, and I can think of plenty of situations where I’m definitely not confident. Sure, I shake hands and make eye contact, but I know I don’t always come across as well as I could. I’m human. I’m not always engaged.

Take a good look at how you are when you first meet others and be honest. Do you seem aloof, remote, or detached?

That may not your intention, but it’s what sometimes happens. And the effect on the people you meet can be, at best, underwhelming.

Whenever you meet someone new, try to be in the moment. Loose your inhibitions, be engaging and sincere and genuinely interested. You’ve done it before. All you have to do is treat every person you meet as someone you’re genuinely delighted to meet, someone you’re genuinely honoured to meet, because for that particular moment that should be the case.

And, smile.

Try it. Imagine that each person you meet could turn out to be your next customer, your next important connection, or your next great friend. Then, treat each person that way. When you do, the odds are much greater they will turn out to be exactly what you imagine they could be. Even if they don’t, you will still have made another person feel valued and special — and making people feel valued and special is reason enough.

Remember: To stand out in the crowd, treat every person you meet with respect, warmth, and genuine concern.