How to Reverse a Bad First Impression

Posted on by

Have you ever said or done something awkward or unintended during an interview, a first time encounter with a potential client or meeting a new colleague? We all have goofed up at sometime or other and committed a faux pas that was irreversible and possibly unforgettable. It is not the goof that counts; it is how you handle it.

This is the topic that Real Simple Magazine approaches in their July edition. The title of the article is “5 ways to reverse a bad first impression.” The writer of the article, Kaitlyn Pirie, approached five experts from a variety of fields to get their take on this situation. I happen to be one of them and was delighted to share my thoughts.

Here are some of the ideas that the experts offered. Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, says to turn around. She suggests altering your body position during your next conversation. It may change how the person thinks of you. Ora Shtull, an executive coach in New York City, suggests that you stop and focus on the person. We are all constantly in a state of distraction. If you do or say something that creates a bad impression, stop and offer an apology, and invite that person for coffee to let them know how important meeting them is to you.

Chris Harrison, the host of the Bachelor and The Bachelorette, advises people to take  a deep breathe, stay calm and be true to themselves. He says if it doesn’t work out, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Paul Ekman, Ph.D., suggests that people  hold still. He says that fidgeting makes you look nervous and can create a bad first impression.

Finally what is my advice? If you commit a faux pas, keep your sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. You will feel more comfortable and so will the other person. Getting distressed will only make a bad situation worse. Laughter is the best remedy for this kind of predicament and many others.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,



4 thoughts on “How to Reverse a Bad First Impression

  1. Joanne Blake

    As a fellow business etiquette trainer I agree with your sentiments. We are all guilty of inadvertently hurting others. 99.9% of negative impressions are done unintentionally. Once you apologize sincerely then it’s important to forget about it and move on.

  2. Susan Clark

    Yes, we all misstep and should acknowledge our mistakes. When we are on the receiving end we can be gracious and forgive easily – we have all found ourselves in those awkward moments. I appreciate those people who brush off the blunder and laugh along with me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.