Unforgettable First Impressions Part 1: Discover the CPI

People like others whom they are like. So if you want to make a flawless first impression, it is your duty to discover what you have in common with every person you talk to.

The 6 Essential Elements for Flawless First Impressions are part of Scott Ginsberg's the UNFORGETTABLE! Audio System.

Let Me Ask Ya This
Several months ago my friend Mitch and I were introduced to a small group of people through which we had a mutual friend. I wanted to be sure our conversation was engaging, so I offered one of my favorite questions to ask new people:

"What's your favorite cereal?"

As usual, Mitch and I got a mild chuckle from the group, but eventually everyone contributed. We then talked for twenty minutes about cereal, in-box prizes and various childhood memories related to breakfast foods. What a great conversation!

At the end of the night, Mitch and I said goodbye to our new friends. On the way out, they actually thanked us for our interesting conversation about cereal!

Fast forward...

A few weeks later I ran into Anne, one of the girls from the table I met that night. She jumped out of her seat and gave me a hearty greeting!

"Hey nice to see you again Scott! My friends and I still talk about how enjoyable our cereal conversation was with you and Mitch. We'll never forget that!"

This reveals the first key to Locating the CPI: asking engaging, open ended questions. In other words, questions that don't elicit a yes or no answer or a monosyllabic conversation killer like "F.I.N.E" or "ehh."

When you meet someone for the first time, pose questions that begin with "What's your favorite??" "How long have you been??" and "How did you get started??" Questions like these build rapport, spark creativity and invite people to share experiences and preferences. What's more, they show interest in people's opinions and insights.

TIP #1: What people LIKE is just as important as what they ARE LIKE.

Blank Blank Blank
Another way to Locate the CPI is with compliments. If you want to be unforgettable in your first impressions, giving a compliment ? and doing so effectively ? is a fail safe method. Now, I'm not talking about cheap flattery. There is a right and wrong way to do this.

If someone came up to you and said, "Hey, uh?you're cute!" or "You smell good," would you feel flattered? Would you feel like they took an interest in you? Probably not. Stuff like this just shows that someone is looking for an easy out, or an easy in.

But there's a way to structure a compliment that's simple and effective. I like to call it "The Blank Blank Blank Theory." Compliments have to be specific or else they don't sound heartfelt. So, according to the formula, you say:

I (blank) your (blank) because (blank). For example: " I like that watch ? it's very classy. Where'd you get it?"

(Notice I added an open ended question at the end of the compliment.)

Specifically when you compliment things, asking people where they got something is a great way to get a story or some background information. How many times have you asked someone this question who answered with "When I was on vacation"? That always generates a synchronized, detailed conversation ? especially if you've been to some of the same places they have.

TIP #2: It's all about going from HOW are you to WHO are you.

The Sweetest Sound
The last tool that will help you Locate the CPI is an inquiry about a person's name. In addition to the importance of identifying, amplifying and remembering a person's name, asking about the name itself will make you UNFORGETTABLE every time.

Have you ever had a conversation that begun about someone's name, but continued about their name for a few minutes? It's great when this happens! And you can be certain the other person is enjoying the conversation because it's all about them. So the CPI is: them!

Once after giving a speech, a member of the audience approached me and introduced herself as Hannah. To find out if it was a palindrome, I asked her about the spelling. When she handed me her card, immediately her name struck a chord in me.

One of my favorite books as a child was called "Hannah Is a Palindrome." This book was about a young girl in third grade named Hannah. One day her classmates started to make fun of her because the teacher told the class that "Hannah was a palindrome."

"Ha ha! Hannah is a palindrome, Hannah is a palindrome! Nah, nah, n-na nya!"

But when the teacher explained to her students that "palindrome" meant a word that could be spelled forward and backwards, a long "ooooh" came over the students. After that, everyone loved Hannah and all the kids were envious of her special name.

This was the story I told to Hannah, the audience member. To my surprise, she'd read the book before! We talked all about nicknames, palindromes, children's books and more! Simply because the conversation revolved around one thing: her name.

TIP #3: Don't just use someone's name ? inquire about someone's name.

How Are You Similar?
An essential element for flawless first impressions is helping other person realize how similar they are to you. You accomplish this goal by locating the CPI (common point of interest). With the combination of open ended questions, compliments and conversations that focus on them as the topic of discussion, you will be certain to be UNFORGETTABLE!

© 2005 All Rights Reserved.

Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.

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