You only have one chance to make a first impression

11 Sep

Yesterday, I attended a networking/information lunch put on a by a group to which I had never been before. The topic was business strategies. This was the fall kick-off event and I thought it was a good time to think about strategy as I move forward with my business and so forth. Well, the speaker was more interested in telling us about how he doesn’t take clients under $20,000. He made the point that we should think about doing strategy and not tactics. No word about how to develop strategies for your business.  He also took a bunch of self-centered questions from the audience. In a word, the event was disappointing. Not to mention expensive and not very satisfying.

The group put out a survey and I gladly responded that the event did not meet my expectations and why. The organizer wrote me and said that “he had no control over the speaker” even though he agreed with me about content. He asked me to give the group another chance.

Here are my thoughts.

1) Organizers do have some control over the speaker. It is not total of course, but the organizer could have reminded the speaker of the topic, and OUTLINED EXPECTATIONS FROM THE SPEECH, QUESTIONS AND TOPIC TO BE COVERED.

2) It is not enough to ask me to try again.  It was money out of my pocket, and perhaps he could have offered a discount for next time or something such.

3) The organizer needs to be aware that you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you don’t make a good first impression, YOU MUST make a better second impression or else all is lost. My second impression is that the organizer doesn”t get it. He did not take full responsibility. Etc.

Oh, and when I arrived at the event, there was no name tag for me, even though I pre-registered. Nothing irritates me more at these types of events than having a handwritten Hello, I am… tag. Awful. My handwriting is not that clear and I think it looks unprofessional.

Ironically, this group is a public relations related group.  What is the saying about doctors healing themselves?


One Response to “You only have one chance to make a first impression”

  1. Daria Steigman September 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    Ouch. If you have to announce your fee requirements in the first sentence of a conversation with people who aren’t even hiring you, you’re probably very insecure. Sounds like a horrid speaker.

    More broadly, though, I think the bigger problem isn’t that the organizer didn’t exercise enough control (although it does seem as though some of the problems might have been avoided with better speaker guidelines), but that he made an excuse rather than just outright apologizing.

    Look on the bright side: you know where not to go for advice or business strategy.

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