Beyond the Build


You’ll Never Get a Second Chance…

First impressions matter. In these initial minutes, maybe even seconds, we sometimes may make unconscious judgments, including whether or not we can trust a person.

I’ve read that we tend to trust people who are a bit older than ourselves or those who appear a bit more reserved. For most of us, there’s not a lot we can do to change the way we look or our age. I remember starting out in the business I kept wanting to be that older person to gain more respect naturally, but I learned trust and respect can be earned in different ways.

A few thoughts I have tried to remember from my own experiences:

  • Before you enter the room, make the conscious decision to focus on other people instead of yourself.
  • Stand up to shake hands, and don’t reach across the table to do so, step around it and thus show respect, which may help to earn the trust.
  • Smile, but not constantly. Make it a genuine reaction in the conversation.
  • Encourage others present to talk.

With a little practice, your first impression can become a positive and lasting impression.
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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.