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Photo credit: catherinescareercorner.com

BALARABA JOHN

Pause a while and ponder over these:

If you had an opportunity to meet someone for the first time that had the power to make your wish come true, how would you appear? What would you do?

 Let’s say you are looking for a job – a very lucrative and your dream job – somehow you were to meet the Managing Director of the company – a rare privilege – what would be the first thing you would do to convince him you are the most suitable candidate for the job?

 You are a guy and there is this beautiful lady that you are secretly in love with and admire greatly from afar. Only few of your friends know about this. The lady doesn’t know and you can’t say whether she feels the same way for you or not. You’ve asked her out for a dinner or to follow you to the movies a couple of times and she politely declines.  On this day, she calls you and asks you where you are. You’re so excited and quickly tell her you’re home. She asks if you are free from now till evening. You answer in the affirmative. She then tells you that her flight for 10:00am is cancelled meaning she must travel by 7:00pm that day. She asks if you don’t mind her coming to your house by 12:00pm till, say, 6:00pm where she plans to leave for airport to catch up with her flight. What will you do? How will you seize this opportunity to convince the lady, without too many words, that you are the right man for her?

 You are the President of a certain country in dire need of direct foreign investments. You have an opportunity to address world leaders and investors from advanced countries about the need to come and invest in your country – none of them has ever visited your country before. How will you start? What will be the key points of your address? Or better still, let’s say, these world leaders and investors are coming to your country and you want to convince them that your country is the best destination and safe haven for their investments. What are those things you will consider first?

 Hmmm! I know by now you are thinking deeply or even many answers may be running in your mind. Without having the opportunity to hear those answers, I believe they are not wrong! Yes! Not wrong! Trust me! They are your views. To me, views, no matter what, cannot be totally said to be out of place. We may not believe in other people’s views but that does not make our own right! But then, I want to draw your mind to one thing. Quite frankly, that may not answer all the above posers, as it were, but sure it is very important. It may not be exactly what you are thinking but it is something you will still think about when you are done with thinking the right answer(s). You may have all the answers correctly but all of those can only be built on just one thing – you may call it the foundation – this one thing is what I want to expound in the subsequent few paragraphs.

So many people are desirous of changing levels or moving to the next stage on every facet of their lives – social, economic and professional. But I make bold to say that only few know besides having a desire, the steps to take. As important as desire is, the place of adequate and holistic preparation can’t be ignored. As a matter of fact, it is the most important thing. It is what weapon is to a soldier in warfront, what law reports and relevant statutes are to a lawyer in law court, and surgical scissors are to a surgeon in the theatre. Preparation is more than just getting set outwardly. It also entails getting set inwardly and in fact, mentally. It is not hard to single out from the crowd someone that is very prepared. Being a broad term and with various elements, preparation exhibits itself in some ways that are unique and true. Let’s narrow our discussion on one of these ways, First Impression.

Thus, First Impression means different things to different folks. Many don’t even know what they call ‘First Impression’ is a result of their preparation. We wrongly believe that everything about life is run by chance. It’s ridiculous when I hear people saying something like “Que sera sera” translated from Spanish into English as “What will be, will be”. Such aphorism doesn’t only breed mental laziness; it also deprives you of living! Preparation is deliberate. In life, you don’t always get free lunch! Preparation is a function of soul, body and spirit. It’s physical, mental and spiritual. It is total.  If you aren’t prepared adequately, it shows on your appearance, speech and comport. Good First Impression comes naturally to those who have totally prepared. A person whose whole being is set to seize opportunity always makes a good First Impression wherever he goes or to whomever he thinks has the key to unlock the door to his success. First impression reveals so much about us not just our preparedness but about our character, which is the sum total of our words, action and regular habits.

One of the simplest ways of accessing someone that we barely know is that mark he or she leaves on our minds the first time we meet them. No matter how well you think you have prepared, it amounts to almost nothing if you make bad First Impression. For instance, you may be very much prepared for an interview but arriving late leaves a bad impression on the mind of the interviewer. You may be a nice and caring lady but losing your temper and slapping your fiancé the very first time you go to see his family, leaves a bad impression on your would-be in-laws’ minds. You may have done your research and rehearsed very well for the speech to be delivered at international forum as a leader, but refusing to listen to others or criticising them openly while they deliver their speeches, leaves a bad impression that your well-prepared speech can hardly erase. You may be the gentlest man on earth but refusing to open the door to the car, walking fast and leaving your date behind or nagging every now and then for no justifiable reason on your first date, leaves a bad impression and casts doubts on her mind if you aren’t a mistake. The truth is that First Impression is lasting and it is often what people use to access or draw conclusions about us. People that do not know you, hardly have the patience to wait another time for you to impress them. They often go with the First Impression you made on them.

Sometimes people feign and try to impress people the first time they meet them. Well, it’s possible to fake First Impression but like any other counterfeit of its kind, it bursts open, tears and leaks. It carries too much mythical embellishment that raises doubts and causes the other person to be wary. More so, since it isn’t genuine, it doesn’t last. Genuine First Impression is sustainable and continuous. It becomes like one’s second body. It is like lifestyle because it is internalised. Though has the characteristic of naturalness, it sure can be cultivated and imbibed by anyone, young or old. It is about stretching the focus of your preparation to other parts of your being – don’t be prepared only outwardly but inwardly. Be prepared mentally just as you are prepared physically. Be prepared every second and see every day as the day your level of preparation will be examined. By so doing, you are working consciously but your work is having great impact on your unconscious and subconscious self. This stands you out and distinguishes you every time. Even without knowing, without exerting much effort, good First Impression will emanate from you like a spring.

I may not know what you crave for in life but whatever it may be, never lose the opportunity that will catapult you to greatness. Don’t lose that chance to grab that next big contract or job. Don’t ruin that one chance you have to make your relationship work. Seize the opportunity. Make a good First Impression. It sure pays!