Show up and make a good impression

Read time 3min 30sec
Angela de Longchamps
Angela de Longchamps

Building skills to surf the wave of change is made up of a lot of little things. Possibly the little thing that makes the biggest difference is how you choose to show up today.

What do I mean by your SHOW UP?

I made use of a beauty salon that was conveniently located close to my house. The owner was fabulous but due to personal issues sold the salon to someone else. The someone else was super less fabulous and despite a total redecoration, the salon closed within three months.

One of the therapists contacted me and told me she had opened up her own salon and would I like to come to her directly? I was impressed that she had taken the initiative; however, she needed to think about this possibility 12 months earlier.

WHY? Each time I went to her she was polite, but distant, somewhat disinterested and far from friendly. It was a transaction. A somewhat personal transaction. Definitely not a relationship. How she showed up to me, her customer, 12 months ago, influences my decision to follow her to her new salon.

So ‘showing up’ every day with customers, colleagues and random strangers leaves a massive impact and it either helps you or hurts you when the wave of change hits you and you find yourself tumbled by the wave and spat out on the beach with sand in your costume.

‘Showing up’ every day with customers, colleagues and random strangers leaves a massive impact.

When you meet and greet, do you make eye contact, smile and be friendly? Or are you just there for the petrol or to pay the school fees or sit through the meeting, with a grumble and a sarcastic comment?

Let’s talk about what your body is saying when you are silent:

Are you walking like you have a place to go? Are you energetic? Or are you shuffling along, taking all the time in the world because you have to be in this office for eight hours, and you are going to spend at least one of those walking to and from the printer / toilet / coffee machine?

Is your face shouting your negativity about this annoying meeting / training / employee forum and although you can’t be quoted as being negative, your facial expressions are anything but happy? Or do you help others feel good about themselves by smiling at them and greeting them warmly?

Are you constantly on your phone, when in a group or even in a 1:1 conversation? Phone manners are at an all-time low, but looking at, playing on, or just scrolling through Facebook, gives a negative impression to your colleagues, your manager and your clients about how present you are in each moment.

Put your phone on silent and in your bag when you are in meetings, to avoid the temptation of looking at it on impulse or when you are distracted.

Of course, what you say is important, but research would suggest that (a) your first impression is already made before you have a chance to talk, and (b) your body language drowns out the sound of your voice, so unless your body language and words are in sync, your good idea or constructive feedback will be filtered through your slouched posture and distracted attention and never actually be heard!

So take heed: Show up today so you will be remembered tomorrow for good things. You will find people in your network don’t return your calls or want to refer you to others if they are nervous about how you will show up.

Make it easy for your colleagues and manager to put you forward for awards or promotions, for recruiters to vouch for you and for clients to buy from you when you show up in a warm, positive and attentive way.

Angela de Longchamps

Director, Tandem Learning and Leadership Solutions

Angela de Longchamps is a passionate South African who has worked across the world, but chooses South Africa to call home. Her 20+ years of international corporate experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, in HR and as a leadership development facilitator, learning designer and event speaker, and the very grounding reality of taking her job as mom to three children very seriously, are the foundation for her business: Tandem Learning and Leadership Solutions. She partners with local and international businesses to help leaders shape up and step up.

She is also founder and CEO of a collaboration economy blended learning approach and methodology called: Inspired Leadership.

De Longchamps speaks to teams, facilitates workshops and training, inspires leaders, and assesses and consults on gender perception in organisations.

See also