Last Thursday I had the privilege of assisting in a networking training session for Notre Dame student-athletes. There were 50 football, 2 swimming, and 1 baseball student-athletes in attendance and they were asked to participate in a practice networking event with twelve members of the community. The event lasted for an hour and the men (amazingly, no female student-athletes signed up for the course?) were very impressive. Good handshakes, questions, and eye contact – a very impressive first impression was made by the participants.
At the end of the session, the moderators asked the community members to provide feedback to the group. While the comments were very positive, there was one piece of advice, offered by Steve Camilleri, that I thought stood out. Steve stated he places more importance with a good second impression rather than a first impression. He noted that everyone can have a bad day or be very impressive at the initial meeting – a first impression does not differentiate or make/break people in his experience. The true measure for Steve is the second impression.
The second impression will help convince people you are serious about the relationship, that you are truly interested in the person and what he/she can offer.
- Many people have an initial conversations and then “drop the ball” and never re-connect with their contacts. The lack of any second impressions will doom the networking efforts of this group.
- Some people are very impressive at first and their contact will provide them advice/referrals to help them with a need. During the second interaction, if the networker has taken no action, has not furthered oneself and is asking the same questions that were asked in the initial meeting, a poor second impression will be made and the contact will choose to not offer further assistance.
- Other people will have an initial meeting and then schedule a second discussion to recap his or her efforts (see Closing the Circle). This individual will make a positive second impression as he/she has reconnected with the networking contact and will have progressed from the initial meeting.
Take this advice and know that if your first impression was not as stellar as you would have liked, the second impression will still allow you a chance to leave a truer image of ‘You” with your contacts.