A group of successful and satisfied businesspeople looking upwards smiling

Before you enter into your next networking event, business meeting, presentation, or make that next sales call, ask yourself “what’s going to define my outcome”. Those initial interactions with someone new can be intimidating, as you can find yourself over reading or under reading the situation trying to make that perfect connection. What if you talk too much, or appear too arrogant?  So many things can run through your head in a matter of seconds it can be overwhelming. So where does the starting point of a great first impression begin?

Hall of Famer and New York Yankee great Yogi Berra once said “Baseball is 90% mental”, and so is a great first impression. In the book First Impressions for the Business Professional – Why Some of Us Excel and Most of Us Fail, I discuss the importance of understanding the difference between NSP’s and PSP’s. NSP or Negative Self-Phrases, are in my view the single biggest contributor to why so many conversation go sour so quickly. In short Negative Self-Phrases are nothing more than common phrases we use to tell ourselves something negative will happen and the

biggest reason why we quickly talk ourselves out of a situation.  In most cases NSP’s stem from a fear of failure to some degree.

A Few Examples:

  • Business Meeting – Those people never listen to my ideas.
  • Networking Event – I never have anything to say at these things.
  • Sales Call – I’m going to be wasting their time.
  • Presentation – These people don’t want to hear what I have to say.

Many people find themselves filling their heads with NSP’s spending so much time talking themselves out of situations before they give it a chance. It was George Washington Carver who once said “99% of failures come from those who have a habit of making up excuses”. This is one of the biggest reasons why opportunities are lost before they are even presented.  At certain stages in my corporate career I was guilty of this as well, but the question becomes when you find yourself in this boat how do you get out of it to ensure your success?

John N. Mitchell, former Attorney General of the United States said it best “Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.” The next time you find yourself saying an NSP change it to a PSP. PSP’s or Positive Self Phrases, allow you to look at each situation in a positive manner. This ensures you cancel out any negative thoughts before you enter in to a situation, and allows you to focus on the “why” you should be there.

A Few Examples:

  • Business Meeting – My ideas have value.
  • Networking Event – This is an opportunity to meet someone new.
  • Sales Call – I’m calling to help this person.
  • Presentation – This could change someone’s life.

The business world can be a hard place to navigate your career with so much competition. If you’re planning to move up the corporate latter, you’ll need to understand that your attitude defines the outcome of each day. Having the right attitude day in day out, will create opportunities for you in the long term. That’s why it’s imperative to never let a bad experience define your state of mind moving forward. If you take a second to think about it, your attitude during a networking event, business meeting, presentation, or even a sales call can affect how a person feels for the rest of their day, so why not go eliminate those NSP’s and approach every situation with a great attitude using PSP’s.

Key Lesson:  The starting point of a great first impression begins with a good attitude.