Only one chance to make a first impression

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2005

OK, the expression is as worn out as last week’s Florida defense or Spurrier’s spread offense.

It doesn’t matter-this is still a legitimate clich/:

“You only get one chance to make a first impression”.

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Thus, every community leader and every employer would like to know in which cupboard is the “pixie dust” stored, which closet hides the “magic wand”, and what the words are to the mystery incantation.

They want to know these things for most of them would like to make use of these devices on area citizens and employees so that each one of us would make that positive, good, first impression on those that visit our community and our stores.

Well, our community leaders know, as well as do employers-there are no such “magical” tools that are available.

They know it takes work, training, and discipline to make a good, first impression.

And although a “bad” first impression is not always a deal killer (otherwise I wouldn’t be married to my Rosemary), but it sure makes things easier.

Cosmetically speaking, I think our community is doing a fairly good job.

Our mayor and city council are working with a citizen’s task force to clean up some sites in our community that need attention.

The Beautification Committee and city horticulturist and his staff work continuously to keep the city landscaped attractively.

The Chamber issues “Pride Awards” to homeowners that go the extra mile in having great yards.

A “landscaping” ordinance is in place for new businesses to go by that insure a degree of “greenery” to development projects.

As important is the personable “front line” greeting impressions that we make.

And the ones who do this most often are the convenience store clerks, restaurant employees, and front-desk motel agents.

These are the ones that usually come into contact with visitors to our community first and thus they are the ones giving that first “personable” impression of our community.

It is very important that the owners of these establishments stress the importance of this to these “front line” greeters and train them to do a good job in this matter.

Hospitality can be defined as “the receiving and entertaining of guests or strangers in a friendly and gracious fashion”.

With this in mind, here are some very basic tips for all of us to use as we strive to make a good, personable, first impression for our community:

* An upbeat attitude is a big plus.

* Information is WHAT we say; communication is HOW we say it.

Be pleasant in your tone of voice and in your body language.

* Know your community.

Be able to tell someone of the history of your Demopolis.

Be able to tell someone where things are located.

* Smile.

* Say sincerely things such as “thanks”; “glad to meet you”; “hope to see you again”.

And by all means, try and send them to the Chamber office so we can load them up on all of the positives of our community.

I promise that I will stay in the back and let Kelley and Pat be the first ones to greet them here.

After all, we do want to make a good, first impression.