On Friday, I went with two fellow Rotary Club members to pick up our incoming exchange student from Switzerland. You never know exactly what you’re going to get with a student any given year. Barb and I have hosted four of them, each with completely different personalities and temperament. When you are hosting a kid for a year, either as a host parent or as a Rotary Club, you always hold your breath a little at the beginning hoping to get a fun one.

We knew right away that our student this year is going to be a hit. Mike came bounding in with a huge smile, great energy, and much conversation. When you consider he just made it through 11 hours of flying and one hour of customs, you can consider him the Michael Phelps of exchange students!

Mike made a GREAT first impression on us. Certainly, there is a full year to go but at first glance, we have a winner.

What does your audience and prospects think of you at first sight? Do they see the same charm that Mike gave us? Or, do they see a very serious, monotone, stuffy, and unwelcoming figure?

The old saying is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That is a truism in business as well as life. Business is about relationships. Presenting yourself is about connecting emotionally and intellectually with your audience, regardless of the size.

Take a cue from my new pal Mike from Switzerland. Make your first impression be of energy, smiles, and sincerity. That’s one first impression that will be sure to last.

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