Putting Your Best Foot Forward

On meeting another person for the first time, we are judged (fairly or otherwise) by our appearances and then when we open our mouths.

When you think of ducking down to the local 7Eleven for milk and the newspapers on a lazy Sunday morning, the dress code is informal-think jeans, sneakers and a sweater.

In an amusing account by an Australian woman living in France with her French beau, she described the horrified look on his face, when she was about to step out to the boulangerie for breakfast provisions (dressed in a casual manner).

French women would not dream of going to the shops sooo unprepared to face the world. Oh no, they present themselves in their best possible light and ladies that means make up and co-ordinated fashion and accessories, at the minimum.

If you work on the principle that any and everyone you meet is a prospect and potential client, ask yourself how you want them to see you?

I will pre-empt you by saying that the previous statement does not imply that you are going out there with an ulterior motive of taking financial advantage of the unsuspecting. This is hardly the case.

As an illustration, if you are tired, grumpy in the grocery store check out queue, you may be forgiven for being a bit short with the young person packing your groceries.

However, that young person’s parents may also require your services or business should you meet them socially at a barbeque, for instance.

Imagine your surprise when you enter their home to find that young check out person lives there.

There can be a couple of scenarios here,

i) there is awkward silence when you recall how you spoke to that person at the store or

ii) absolute delight that he/she remembers you as the nice person who took the time to have a little chat with them as they were scanning your box of Cheerios.

So this is what I usually do: 1) smile and make eye contact, 2) comment on how busy or quiet things are in the store, 3) engage them in a conversation, usually around the fact that they are earning whilst studying at university or college, and 4) say bye bye.

Now, that wasn’t so hard and it certainly made me feel better. Try it.

Yours in health, wealth and happiness

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