From first dates to job interviews making a good impression is vital. Fail to plan, plan to fail the saying goes and I am a big believer in having a plan A and a plan B for almost every situation and occasion.
Of course plans are all very well but you have to be a little flexible too. There are a few top tips I have to share which will hopefully help you to be prepared for every eventuality whether you are pitching for work or trying to make a good impression at a party.
- Dress to impress. Think carefully about what kind of impression you want to give the people you will be meeting at whatever event it is. Think about what might be appropriate for the situation as well as the weather, venue and time of day. A short, low cut red dress with sky high heels might look fab for a late night party but would be less appropriate for an office-based interview. Flip-flops are generally a non-no for formal occasions while novelty T-shirts have no place at a wedding.
- Research your audience. When my children first started going for jobs, even part time "Saturday" jobs I taught them the importance of researching the organisation before the interview. Do your homework and you are far more likely to land a new client.
- Create a professional online presence. The internet is an open book so even if you don't need to use social media for your work make sure any online presence is professional, appropriate and carefully curated. Planning a date or have an interview? I guarantee the first thing any potential partner or employer is going to do is stalk you on socials. I used to advise my children that potential employees might go back a long way so they should never post anything they wouldn't want their Grandma to see. Spend some time cleaning up your socials. You don't want to be judged or cancelled on stupid stuff you posted when you were too young or stupid to know better.
- Ask someone to proof read your work. Whether it's an email, job application or presentation, get someone with a good standard of your language and an understanding of the desired outcome to proof read your work. Make sure you have a copy they can annotate and be open to constructive criticism.
- Follow up. So after your meet-up, date or interview your messages have been worryingly quiet. Whistling silence is not generally a good sign but it could be that a message has been misdirected into spam, a recruitment process is taking longer than expected or some miscommunication or misunderstanding has led to the person or organisation you wanted a future with has backed off. A simple message asking if all is well could reconnect you. I got a job once where the employer admitted they only considered the candidates who chased their application. Ask for feedback but avoid being aggressive, needy or stalker-ish.
If you have trouble getting jobs, making friends or moving past first dates it might be time to take a good hard look at yourself and ask if it is something about you that people have trouble with. I know for instance that I tend to overshare and talk too much and now I try to be a better listener.
If you are brave, ask a friend of family member for an honest appraisal - it might be that there s a simple adjustment you could make to turn your fortunes around. Maybe you have bad breath or BO without realising it or you talk too much about your LEGO or taxidermy habit.
Having said that, on the whole you should do you and no-one should bury their truth for the sake of others.