Presenting something for the first time can be scary–and it should be.
When you are showing someone something, whether it be an idea, an essay, a design, or even yourself, judgments are instantly made. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. There are two types of people in the world–those that judge, and liars. Especially when we’ve never seen something before. It is in our human nature to make judgements and assess what is presented to us.
We’ve all done it. If you’re young, and have been in a relationship, think back to the first time you met your significant other’s parents. The second you walked in they were looking at your clothes, your hair, your face, maybe your smell, trying to immediately decide if you were a good match for their baby.
This clip from TV series Modern Family, humorously shows an unexpected turn of events as a father tries to intimidate his daughter’s new boyfriend.
It is pretty clear how the first impression is made on both ends here. Dylan sees his girlfriend’s dorky dad try to intimidate him, and he immediately starts judging him. The dad knows the importance of putting the son in his place from the start. And, for the sake of the comedy, is horribly unsuccessful. But hey, at least he tried.
The first moment you meet someone is important. Once the first judgment is made, it’s pretty hard to back your way out of it. It is natural for us to, once we decide you are a certain way, see you otherwise. We assume that our original assumption was correct.
Teachers are another example everyone has experienced. Teachers try every year to have a solid first impression on their students.
I had an English teacher not too long ago, that, on the first day walking around in her ridiculously high heeled shoes, hair tied into a bun, wearing a tight pencil skirt, handed out a test. Her first words to us were “Show me what you have learned.” We took the test. Afterwards, the only thing we could manage to say was “I wonder how long it will take for her to crack.”
She came across so stressed, but trying to be well put together, that the impression lasted until the end of the school year. Even though she proved to be fun and crazy (in a good way), once we had made that first assumption, everything she did we would tell ourselves “This is it. This is when she’s going to crack.”
I shouldn’t be so harsh. She was new. And after all is said and done, I did like her as a teacher. She was…interesting. But in a good way.
My point is that the way you present yourself if more important than anything else you do. That’s what people will remember. That’s what people will compare everything you do to.
So try, with all your might, to pull out that little bit of awesomeness that you thought you were going to save. Pull it out. Show people it. From the start.