How To Make an Impression

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

First impressions are not the only impression that you can make on people.
I remember being so concerned with how I appeared to people, what they thought of me, and how I could make a great first impression on them. I would watch friends who seemed to make great first impression. The ease they displayed left me amazed and wondering how I could be more like them? After a while I gave up trying to be a great first impression guy and instead be someone who left an impression.

If you have never heard of Lynn Laughlin he has probably heard of you, or at least knows your name. Lynn Laughlin is a legend at Lincoln Christian University (where I went to school) and really all over the Mid West. The thing that sets Lynn apart from anyone that I know is his unbelievable ability to remember peoples names. My junior year of college I was a student representative that regularly gave tours to prospective students and parents. I was in the middle of a tour and Lynns name was brought up. The dad talked about how he had met Lynn 1o years before and was wondering if he was still around. I said that he was and at that moment I looked up to see Lynn walking towards us. He was headed to the cafeteria (where we just came from) and stopped to talk with us. Knowing that I was giving a prospective student a tour he did his due diligence to talk about the school and what the student what interested in. At the end of the conversation Lynn thanked both the parents by name and said how great it was to see them. He even went on to talk about how he had remembered them from before. That it had been years since he had seen them last and was happy to see them on campus. We all walked away in amazement that Lynn remembered them. The next semester this prospective student became a current student. I think Lynn Laughlin knowing their names had something to do with that.

In my heist to make sure that I made a great first impression I often handicapped myself to leave any impression. I was so concerned with what I was doing and going say that I forgot one of the most crucial things, listening. I started to make it a priority to remember people’s names. To not focus on what I was going to say next, but instead listen to what they had to say. Honestly, I become more concerned about leaving a lasting impression then a first impression.

Sometimes it seems that we are all about those first time encounters. We wear our best clothes, put on our best face, and make sure that we put forward the best impression. I wonder  if trying to have such a great first impression we set ourselves up for failure in the future? That we become so concerned about looking good that when people really start to get to know us they do not see the person they first met. Getting past that first initial time of meeting you realize that we are all average people that do not have everything figured out and perfect. This brings me great comfort knowing that I will not be judged on first impressions but will be known by my lasting impression.Because in the end we will not remember the first time we met but the last time we talked.

What is one way you try and make an impression on people?


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Kyle Reed

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Kyle Reed is a connector looking to connect with others. A 20 Something that is blogging his way through life and looking to connect through community. Also a team member of the 8BIT Network and brand evangelist. Find me on twitter: @kylelreed, lets chat.
  • Zac

    I be myself… I try not to worry what other people think because only God’s opinion matters (ok my wife’s opinion matters some haha).

    Speaking of impressions, I think music can leave impressions. When you first hear an album you might like it or you might think I need to hear it again to really digest it, or you might just think its crap and never want to hear it again. The National’s new album High Violet comes out May 11th, but the NYT has it streaming I believe through tomorrow here. My first impression was, “Wow, this could be the best album of 2010 so far.” My 2nd and 3rd listens have confirmed this suspicion! Check it out…

  • brett barner

    I’m pretty bad at first impressions myself. I hate awkward silence, so like you, I stop listening, and start trying to think of what to say next so there isn’t this weird “what do we talk about next” pause.

    Great thoughts at the end.

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