First Impressions

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Francesca Moffet
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First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 15th, 2009, 6:39 am

I had a very interesting conversation at the weekend with someone that made me realise how important it is for a performer to make a good impression the first time you meet someone as they do indeed last.

Someone asked me if I would mention their name to a person who was booking acts for a particular show. When I mentioned this person was interested the booker grimaced and said they'd met him at a How to Promote Yourself Seminar a few years ago and that he hadn't come across in a good way at all. Apparently he'd said that "I don't use the word 'magician' on my business cards, people should know who I am!" He was described as 'smug and egotistical' to me.

So because of the way this guy came across a few years ago he has put this person off booking him for this event and probably won't get booked for the convention in that area as well. It just goes to show that if you come across in a bad light people will remember it when they hear your name mentioned for years to come.

Has anyone here had a bad day come back to haunt them?
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Re: First Impressions

Postby David Alexander » April 15th, 2009, 8:51 am

You're absolutely right, Francesca. You cannot make a second "First Impression."

One of the best books on the subject is "The First Four Minutes" by Leonard Zunin, MD. Zunin is a psychiatrist who has studied the processes by which we judge others in a short period of time. He details how to avoid making major mistakes.

Amazon.com has the book as do others. It's well worth anyone's time to study and apply the insignts Zunin has developed.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 15th, 2009, 10:32 am

It's a shame he came across so badly. I defended him up to a certain point suggesting that maybe he was just quoting something that had been drummed into him at one of those pushy seminars where they make you believe that you are the best thing since sliced bread and if you believe it others will inevitably follow.

Sadly I don't think I managed to convince him.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Edward » April 15th, 2009, 10:35 pm

Did you mention to this fellow what the agent said about him? It might do him some good in the future.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 6:04 am

No, I haven't told him...I don't know if I should as I have no idea how he'd react and that scares me if I'm honest.

I know he has certain bad traits and I know he can come across badly as I've heard it from other people too but he's my friend and I've learned to accept him for who he is.

He has a friend who I personally think is a very bad influence on him, I've only met this person twice but I found him sleazy and arrogant. I think that he is starting to rub off on my friend which is causing a great sense of worry now because if he gets too much like him I wouldn't be able to stand being in the same room as him. The fact that is personality is now affecting his career is a very bad sign.

Some of his pals are also at fault as they inflate his ego and I have witnessed this first hand so I think it's also a factor in his behaviour.

Do you really think I should tell him?
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Re: First Impressions

Postby David Alexander » April 16th, 2009, 8:56 am

You cannot live other people's lives for them. The best advice will often be seen as anything other than what it was meant to be.

One of my closest friends married a real piece of work who eventually drove all his friends away. He never recognized what was happening.

For your own peace of mind, the most direct solution is to walk away and let the friendship die unless you're good at telling people painful things they don't want to hear. Even then, you will almost certainly change the dynamic of the relationship...and probably not for the good as people rarely want to be told the truth.

Recognize that people change and relationships change. You can only be in control of your self and who you relate to and how your relate to them. Excercise your autonomy.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2009, 8:59 am

What if the thing you find so frustrating and offensive in another
Is also the thing that permits them to get through the day
Without succumbing to some other pressures or horror
That you don't know them well enough to be aware of?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 9:42 am

I'm not good at telling people things, I'm a coward. I can't even be honest with people I do like and tell them things...I was once a while ago and it didn't work the way I had hoped so I certainly won't be baring my soul to anyone else in a hurry as it took me a long time to get over it, almost as long as it took me to work up the courage just to admit it and I only caved in and admitted it because I felt threatened by someone else...my suspicians were unfortunately proved right and this other person got what I'd be desperately trying to prove I wanted in a subtle way for over 6 months.

I hope he hears from other people that his attitude is becoming a problem. He has also just been described to me as 'arrogant and sarcastic' not exactly attractive traits...only House M.D. can pull those off and make them endearing in a bizarre way.

He's bound to find out about it...I just hope it's sooner rather than later.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby David Alexander » April 16th, 2009, 10:25 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:What if the thing you find so frustrating and offensive in another
Is also the thing that permits them to get through the day
Without succumbing to some other pressures or horror
That you don't know them well enough to be aware of?


No one has the right to impose their therapeutic modalities or coping mechanisms on another person as part of their relationship.

Years ago I began eliminating emotional vampires from my life. Im highly selective about who I have as friends.

The same goes for employees. I have over 20 and none of them require fixing. If they do, they either keep their problems to themselves and not let it influence their job performance or theyre gone. Im not paid to fix employees. No employer is unless the job actually created the problem. Anyone who comes into my life and gives evidence of making endless bad choices isnt part of my life for long.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2009, 11:32 am

I'm going only so far as to recognize the ecology of the other person in this discussion - as noted in the "what if" above.

Whether you wish to enter another's psychic ecosystem or not is your own affair.

Advice - depending on the degree of insult you wish to offer - can be given whether or not requested and in public if you also wish to maximize the effect.

* Some recent "instant" type books are hinting at what Virginia Satir was exploring - modalities in body posture and interaction with others and groups. This is likely related to what audiences react to when performers come onstage.
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Francesca Moffet
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 4:53 pm

I've decided to be honest and tell him what happened when I put his name forward.

Does anyone have any advice on how to approach this? I want to be tactful and avoid getting smacked on the head with a shovel if at all possible.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2009, 5:03 pm

Beyond just conveying your interpretation of the booker's reaction what feeling would you like the person to have based upon what you are telling them?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 5:17 pm

Well, having him not wanting to kill me would be a good start.

I'm worried he'll shoot the messenger.

I just want him to take the comments on board and tone down the arrogance if he can.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2009, 5:21 pm

Okay that's some behavior. How about imagining that this is a human being and they have feelings and that some of what you say may affect them?

What specifically is your intended result as regards how they feel?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 5:39 pm

I am very aware of the fact he is a human being hence me trying to help him. If his behaviour is making it increasingly difficult for him to get work then it's a big problem.

I don't want to make him feel bad, that is why I've been wrestling with my conscience about telling him...and now I'm getting stressed because if I tell him he could take it badly and if I don't things could get worse and I'll feel guilty for not intervening when I had a chance.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 16th, 2009, 5:54 pm

To be blunt here, I don't see much chance of a positive outcome from this at all. Imagine this: Let's say he asks you about the booker - and you say something like "I mentioned you to him and he remembered you. I did not get the feeling he was too happy about what he remembered of you. I'm sure you'll have other chances to make a better impression on him." and see where that goes.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 16th, 2009, 5:58 pm

I guess that would be OK. I just hope he doesn't ask me to eloborate otherwise I'll be forced to bluff...and I'm not good at that.

Thanks for the advice.
Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, and they both take practice.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Tom Frame » April 16th, 2009, 7:21 pm

Francesca,

Try using assertive communication techniques. This essentially boils down to beginning your statements with the word I; using personal statements; and avoiding the use of any judgmental words or phrases.

For example, you could say something like, I feel nervous and a bit scared by what Im about to tell you, but I feel like I need to do so because I care about you. I felt badly when the agent told me that he didnt want to use you because he viewed you as being arrogant or egotistical. From time to time, Ive also seen you act in a way that I felt was arrogant. I feel concerned and frustrated when you behave in that manner, because I worry that it may be hampering your success.

This type of patter should make it easier for your friend to hear your message. You are merely expressing your feelings, and your friend cannot invalidate your feelings, because you own them. You are not commenting on your friend, on his selfhood, you are commenting on his behavior. And you are not even asking your friend to alter his behavior. You are merely expressing your concerns about the potentially negative consequences of that behavior.

Give it a try and let us know how it works out.

Good luck.

Tom
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Dave Shepherd » April 16th, 2009, 10:07 pm

Teachers use "I"-statements like this all the time to deal with recalcitrant teenagers. (I know this because I do this for a living.) It really does work. Something about that first-person pronoun takes the sting out of criticism towards somebody else.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby mai-ling » April 16th, 2009, 10:27 pm

i've had so many bad days,
that i have a legacy that
follows me around.

on the other hand,
there are still those who
drop my name to meet someone
or talk about some oddity.

but you are right,

first impressions are priceless
and very important.

as performers, everything we do
and say is an interview to the world.

no matter where you are in the world,
even your backyard. particularly in your
own back yard especially.
you will remember my name
http://www.mai-ling.net
world's youngest illusionista


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Re: First Impressions

Postby Iceprincess » April 16th, 2009, 10:47 pm

Tom your on the right track here, but we have to re-word this
we can't lable him----most people that have these issues, as soon as they here the lable her message is going to be lost. He will be to consumed with the label,and he very well may become defensive.

What we want to do is quickly inform him a way thats somewhat
sensitive but direct. we need to just break this down and make it simple. So francesca does't get to much anxiety trying to get all these words out--drop the I feel scared crap. you'll work yourself into a panic attack before you make your point.


Francesca, can we use an example? did the booker give any indication of what they were afraid of? Or Did they just say they basically think he's above it all?
LYNDA BIGELOW

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Iceprincess » April 16th, 2009, 11:16 pm

Also, you are just the messenger you make him own it!

Try this:

The booker felt a little overwhelmed when they met you, I got the impression they felt your attitude was a bit too strong.

and you use examples: say this may be true, I say this because, I notice--(that you do this) ---- and therefore; that gives others a negative first impression of you, and can get in the way of you being successful. see very short! and then its on him to own it. okay?
LYNDA BIGELOW

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 17th, 2009, 5:46 am

Thanks for the advice guys, that's a great way of putting it. I'll be trying to work it into the conversation this weekend...somehow.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Naphtalia » April 17th, 2009, 10:36 am

Francesca wrote:I am very aware of the fact he is a human being hence me trying to help him. If his behaviour is making it increasingly difficult for him to get work then it's a big problem.

I don't want to make him feel bad, that is why I've been wrestling with my conscience about telling him...and now I'm getting stressed because if I tell him he could take it badly and if I don't things could get worse and I'll feel guilty for not intervening when I had a chance.


Reassure him of your respect and caring for him. Let him know that you recently encountered someone who, when his name was mentioned, responded negatively. Among the issues brought out were a, b, and c.

Remind him that your intention is not to hurt, but to make him aware of what he is projecting to others. It's only important to you because you want to see him succeed.

If he asks for specific details, you'll have to decide whether to say, "These things were said in confidence and I need to respect that," or deciding the details are important for him to know.

If you really care, and I sense you do, you'll be kinder in the long run to give him the information he needs.

Do it quietly. Do it in private. Do it when you have time for an extended discussion if he needs it. Don't be hurt if he feels bad and needs time to digest.
Naphtalia


Impropriety is the soul of wit.

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 17th, 2009, 2:54 pm

If he asks me to elaborate on the comments made regarding him then I'll have to be honest and I trust him not to break the confidence as I've confided in him and asked his advice numerous times and he has always been honest with me. I also owe him one as he did me a favour a few weeks ago.


My friend is not the only person with an ego problem as I've just discovered. I am truly amazed by how self-absorbed...or should that be paranoid some people are when they have no evidence whatsoever to back up their 'theory'.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 17th, 2009, 3:13 pm

As you described his situation, he's fallen in with some who have a less than engaging manner and taken on some of their behaviors. He must have some reason for associating with them. Therein lies the rub.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Iceprincess » April 17th, 2009, 3:36 pm

Francesca wrote:If he asks me to elaborate on the comments made regarding him then I'll have to be honest and I trust him not to break the confidence as I've confided in him and asked his advice numerous times and he has always been honest with me. I also owe him one as he did me a favour a few weeks ago.


My friend is not the only person with an ego problem as I've just discovered. I am truly amazed by how self-absorbed...or should that be paranoid some people are when they have no evidence whatsoever to back up their 'theory'.



I agree with this one! It's always important to have evidence to back up what you say! That is my number one rule.
LYNDA BIGELOW

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Re: First Impressions

Postby Francesca Moffet » April 17th, 2009, 4:03 pm

I found it shocking at first but then it evolved into amusement as I couldn't quite believe what I was reading.

Why would someone bother to message me to tell me they didn't care about something if they really didn't care? It's a paradox not to mention highly entertaining for me as I hadn't given the matter thought for ages. I may take a lickin' but I keep on tickin'.

Now, excuse me but I can't hear you all over the sound of my sheer awesomeness. ;-)
Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, and they both take practice.


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