Saturday, October 13, 2012

Introductions and The First 3 - 8 Seconds

As they say, one of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach it. I certainly agree although learning seems a more fitting description.

Teaching a series of classes as I do provides an opportunity to revisit basic concepts regularly. Key aspects of a subject, once new, become familiar making presentation of the material easier. Yet with familiarity comes a desire to tweak and modify to better result. A need exists to peel the onion heading further inside toward the heart of the subject.

Making introductions, especially self introductions, is such an area for me. As a subject, its recognizable territory. I teach it, research it and think about it; an unavoidable byproduct to presenting it regularly to others. And yet the more I teach it the more profound it seems. Profound in a "lost art" sense.

I think we began losing this fundamental social skill with the mass use of radio and telephone about one hundred years ago. Fifty years later television changed the face of US society, adding momentum to the trend. Then came the PC era, digitization and the internet. Its possible now for people (living right here among us) to go an entire ... what,  year? ... without interacting face-to-face with another person.

But eventually they have to and the lack of a skill-set is oh-so-apparent.

Part of the material on communication and introductions I present to job seekers is the concept of initial like and dislike. The idea that we form a fundamental pro or con opinion about someone during the first few seconds of meeting them. This certainly isn't original. Just pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie's classic How to Win Friends & Influence People, the works of William James or any number of philosopher thinkers. There's very little new here. Many people have weighed in on the idea that it only takes a few seconds (3 to 8 in my view).

What about you, the job seeker? It's my take that you are a marketer and hopeful seller of your service. You are on the lookout for a customer.

As a seller you need to keep in mind that its a rare event when someone buys something from someone they don't like. This bears repeating: rarely will someone buy something from someone they don't like.

As a job seeker, your goal should be to be liked.

If so, how can you ignore the first 3 to 8 seconds?

And these first few seconds frequently come during the introduction.

I will have lots to say about introductions going forward.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

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