The number one concern at an introduction is to make the right impression. This takes a three-pronged approach.
- Gauge receptiveness of audience.
- Project positive information.
- Withhold damaging information until qualifiers are set forth.
Are you listening?
Before anything else, we have to know Quaint is listening to what we have to say. Simple indicators, like using our name to address us during conversation and appropriate body language, solidify the knowledge Quaint is listening and participating.
Start the information flow.
The most blatant indicator Quaint is receptive to what you have to offer is questions. Every question, including the safe ones, reveal something about us. When was the last time you asked someone about the weather? Do you think differently of the person who says, I hate snow and the one who gives a 32-minute dissertation on the global effect of frozen precipitation on the snowy owl’s migratory practices? And then Quaint (safely) asks, “So, how do you like this weather?”
How do you answer?
If you choose the safe answer of Snow is expected this time of year, Quaint may think you are not interested in sharing, never go outdoors, have only read about snow on the internet or have an abundance of sarcastic comebacks you are not so sure would go over well.
If you choose the dissertation, Quaint is likely to make the leap of faith you have the Weather Channel programmed into the remote control, watch TWC during commercial breaks to ensure you are not ravaged by the 1/4 centimeter of snow due to fall today or you were a meteorologist in a past life.
It is all about perception.
No one wants to lead off with the warts first. Whether it is our basic instinct to be accepted into the fold or our own insecurity at being first-identified by our foibles, we lead off with a 98-yard kick off return for a score.
- Graduated summa cum laude from Impressive U.
- CEO of Megalotropolis, Inc.
- Won the Best of Hometown crown.
The single most powerful question in the English (or any other for that matter) language. Why? makes us justify our actions, inaction, beliefs, goals, past, affiliations, dissociation, and every other quantifiable and intangible assets or detractor we own. Before Quaint can make a snap judgment in the absence of the answer sought, we are going to set out our groundwork for excusing our faults.
- The valedictorian was the dean’s son.
- I had to sell the company because my daughter needed tuition.
- The judges disqualified me when we all found out my cousin’s step-grandson’s aunt’s second ex-husband was on the panel.
(Warning bell gives way to siren.) The way we frame our successes is as telling about our character as the things we choose to share.
The good is not always bad.
Knowing we are seeking Quaint’s approval and Quaint is going to judge us based on the information we share, we are willing to offer excuses for our successes lest they later be found to be lacking in Quaint’s eyes. Instead of merely being content with our own success, we go out of our way to temper it with a rationalization to preclude later judgment.
If you have missed any of the first five installments of the Identity Series, please visit the posts below:
The comments are always key to how we get to next post. Feel free to comment on the past posts as well as this one. Next, we will discuss the negatives we eventually have to share.
Give an example of tempering success. How does this apply to job applicants? Does this affect how we see our children’s friends?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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