There are very few moments when you meet someone where you have more than a few minutes to make an impression. Socially, professionally or romantically the time frames and how you make an impression change. What does not change, however, is the importance confidence plays in the impression that is given off.
Let’s focus on the professional interaction today.
When I meet with a client for the first time I have 60 minutes in a scheduled session to make an impression. If the impression is good, I usually make the sale and gain a new customer. If the impression is not ideal, I don’t make the sale and probably didn’t help the person very much. Pretty straight forward right?
You need to evaluate the different types of impressions you can make. When you meet with a client they are evaluating you as much as you are them. They are evaluating you as a person, as a clinician and deciding if they are going to trust you with their body and future.
Even if you don’t “click” with a client or necessarily agree with things they are saying, being able to kill any negative assumptions or preconceptions by confidently communicating to them that you know what you are talking about and actually being able to deliver results is critical. For those golfers out there…it is like a putter; the eraser of all bad things.
If you are a therapist, MD, coach, trainer or any other professional that is in the business of getting people better, a large part of your first impression is going to ride on not only your confidence, but more importantly if you can actually get them better.
In my experience if there is a lack of confidence, regardless of the knowledge of the clinician, the outcome is going to be poor. Some of the brightest students that have come through our facility could write about all the different systems of training and physiological phenomenon that exist, but put them with a client and you’d think they would have trouble differentiating a person’s arm from their leg. The reaction of clients to these students is terrible and we spend most of our time working on confidence, not training.
On the flip side, when I have a student who is not as technically versed but they exude confidence and great people skills, I know that a client is going to buy into whatever they say (assuming it is not asinine). This student is going to be a great clinician if they can just up their knowledge and skills…this is when improving is easy!
The former is going to struggle with connecting and conveying a confident message that clients can latch on to and be successful with. This student or professional has a much harder road to improvement in my opinion.
Moral of the story is that no matter what you know or how good your skills are, if you don’t convey confidence to your clients you are starting out well behind in the race. If you do have amazing skills and can fix somebody immediately more times than not, well, then people may look past that initial impression and realize you actually aren’t an idiot. It is a tougher road to travel though.
If you don’t have amazing skills and are terrible with the first impression I would like to wish you luck. You have a long road ahead of you. Studying and continuing education may help you, but your best bet is to engage is training your people skills. Learn to kill other’s preconceived notions of you with confidence that is exuding from your pores.
Let me end with a great quote from the music of my younger days…In the words a music legend…”I’m not cocky, I’m confident”. Be that person!