Making a fabulous impression on people opens doors
for your business, personal, and career endeavors. People like charming
people who make them feel comfortable. So, making a fantastic impression
helps you get where you want to go.
The basic rule to make a great impression is this: Humans crave to be
around people who seem similar to themselves. The key word is seems. Everyone
differs from other people in hundreds of ways. However, you get along
with people you seem similar to you in interests, feelings, experiences,
or goals. You can put these techniques into action to help people feel
you seem similar to them and, as a result, make a wonderful impression.
1st Technique: Forget the "Golden Rule"
Since people crave to be around people who seem similar to themselves,
avoid wasting time on the "Golden Rule" fantasy suggesting, "Treat people
as you want to be treated." People do not want to be treated the way you
want to be treated!
Instead, treat other people the way they like being treated. You make
a stellar impression by focusing on their likes, not yours.
2nd Technique: Use the Other Person's Interpersonal Style
People interact using four interpersonal styles, as follows:
1. Results-Focused: "Quickly tell me the time, not how to build a clock!!"
2. Detail-Focused: "Slowly tell me how to build a clock, slowly leading
up to what time it is."
3. Friendly-Focused: "First, I'll tell you about my family and weekend.
Then, let's discuss yours. Then, let's gossip. Then, let's discuss work."
4. Partying-Focused: "Wanna hear another joke? Let's PARTY!!"
Remember: Humans crave to be around people who seem similar to themselves.
So, with a results-focused person, act fast-paced and results-focused.
To impress a detail-focused person, tell "how to build the clock," not
what time it is.
3rd Technique: Mirror
Mirroring proves incredibly subtle, powerful, and physical. It helps the
person instinctively feel comfortable with you. How? You mirror - make
yourself seem similar to - the person's
1. Body language
2. Vocal style
To impress someone who sits straight, you sit straight with that person.
If the person speaks slowly, then you do likewise. And dress as formally
or informally as the person you want to impress.
4th Technique: Listen Attentively
This tale illustrates the importance of listening well. A man decided
to divorce his wife. His lawyer asked, "Did you love your wife?" The man
replied, "I would have left her, but I was hesitant before."
Then, the lawyer asked, "Why do you want to leave her?" The man said,
"We have lots of trees around our house, but I rake up the leaves myself."
The lawyer asked, "Is she mean?" The man answered, " I stopped eating
red meat." Then, the lawyer inquired, "Does she do housework? Does she
take out garbage?" The man responded, "We have a two-car garage."
Finally, the man felt frustrated, because he failed to understand the
point of the lawyer's questions, so he blurted, "You're a lawyer. Ask
me useful questions about my lousy marriage?"
So, the lawyer asked, "Why do you want to divorce?" The man replied, "Because
we can't communicate!"
This story shows, in extreme fashion, that many conversations actually
are two simultaneous monologues. To make a great impression, listen well
using these tactics:
Paraphrase or repeat ideas the person said
1. Ask questions
2. Take notes
5th Technique: Artful Vagueness
Prospective clients, who wanted to use my consulting, told me their business
problems. Using my expertise with similar problems, I gave my recommendation.
They kept telling me they did not like my recommendation. But I knew my
recommendation would solve their business problems. The more I said I
was right and they were wrong, the more they defended their viewpoint.
Suddenly, I realized I did not make them feel comfortable enough. But,
I could not agree with them, since they were wrong. So, I listened again
to their ideas. Then I said, "I've listened carefully to how you want
to do this project. That's an idea."
At the same time, I thought to myself - but did not say it - "That's a
What did they think? They apparently interpreted "That's an idea" as me
agreeing with them, although I had not. Actually, anything anyone says
is "an idea."
This technique is called artful vagueness. You can get out of uncomfortable
jams using these artfully vague phrases:
"That's an idea."
"You've got a point."
"You may be right."
6th Technique: Use Everyone's Favorite Word
Imagine a time you heard someone shout your name. I bet you spun around
to see who called your name. We are drawn to people who say our names.
My research comparing high-achievers and underachievers revealed high-achievers
used the name of the person they spoke to one or more time in each conversation.
In contrast, underachievers used the name of the person they encountered
less than half the time. This means high-achievers use the name of people
they talk with much more than underachievers. You can do what high-achievers
7th Technique: Compliments
While studying high-achievers and underachievers, I discovered an amazing
difference. High-achievers gave an average of three compliments per day.
However, underachievers seldom gave compliments. What an intriguing difference
you can use to your advantage!
Some people say these seven charm school techniques are "selling out."
But, a French saying puts it in perspective: "A car can go as far on square
wheels as it can go on round wheels. The difference is that on round wheels
the ride is much smoother." Go through your life on round wheels!
© Copyright 2005 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
the Author: Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a conference speaker and consultant
with The Mercer Group, Inc. in Barrington, Illinois. Dr. Mercer created
the widely used "Abilities & Behavior ForecasterT" pre-employment tests.
He authored 5 books, including "How Winners Do It: High Impact People
Skills for Your Success". You can subscribe to Dr. Mercer's free e-Newsletter