Archive for the ‘first impression’ Category



Your First Impression Matters

“You never get a second chance at a first impression,” sounds like a tired cliche  your mother used to get you to comb your hair as a teenager. But I must say that, too often, professionals lose big when they discount the value of a strong first impression. We all have heard someone say: “he was not what I expected,” or “I imagined her being different.” Often these comments translate into “he did not look like he had his act together,” or “I expected her to be more professional.” Before you call me shallow and too focused on the veneer of human existence, hear me on this one. I agree we are so much more than the sum total of how we look and dress like. I get that. But no matter how hard we try to get people we meet to see the real us, we will be categorized…

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Why Your Organization’s First Impression Matters

First impressions matter, whether you like it or not. They matter not only on a personal level but also on a business and even more so when it comes to a church. Our first impression of a business, store or venue sets our expectations for the type of product or experience we perceive we are about to get. The implications of your first impression are huge.  Starting at a deficit. If you don’t “present well” someone’s first encounter with your organization, then you will automatically go into a “deficit” standing. Starting here means you have to work harder to overcome the initial perception of your product, whether it be consumer goods, services or an experience. Basically you’re saying, “we’re better than what you think we are” and then you’ll need to spend time and equity to get your audience to see in a better light. Unfortunately, you often do not…

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It’s Time to Rethink the Welcome Center Experience

Welcome centers are at heart of the experience in most service-oriented businesses and churches. The idea is a good one: create a focal point that allows newcomers to find the information they need in order to have the best experience possible. But I think we have missed the point on implementation, specially churches. Somehow we have bought into the idea that a counter-service type of approach is the optimum way to welcome someone. It isn’t. The problem with most welcome centers is the foundational assumption it creates by the virtue of its design: a counter fortress where staff or volunteers stand  behind waiting for those seeking help to engage them. Some are quite elaborate constructions in the middle to atriums and concourses with computers and flat screens.  To me that’s not a welcome station; it’s a help desk. It puts the entire ownership of the process on the new person.…

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Is Your Church Boring People with The Gospel?

He’s only twelve years old but he convinced his whole family to try a different church. After spending the night at our house one weekend, Josh attended a service at the downtown campus of Cross Point Church. He sat quietly through worship and teaching but afterward spoke his peace “wow, I wish my church was like this. It’s so boring and I hate going.” Weeks went by and Josh visited again with us. Three weeks later, he was back. This time with his whole family: mom, dad and older brother. They sat next to us and left the service with big smiles on their faces and these parting words, “we will be back!” I love my church and I’m definitely biased about what happens there, but I also know the congregation Josh and his parents use to attend. I understand their feelings. When was the last time someone bored you…

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What’s Your Church’s First Message?

We all want to believe we are friendly. I’ve never been to a church that said, “we’re not friendly.” Well, I take that back. I once visited with a minister who said “we’re not a very friendly congregation.” And boy, he meant it. But usually churches I work with are evangelical protestant congregations with a heart for those outside the faith. Such churches want newcomers to feel welcomed and go through great lengths to create environments that say, “we’re glad you here.” But sometimes there’s a disconnect between what happens inside and what people see on the outside. Recently I saw this sign outside a church’s front door: In principle I don’t have a problem with a church not wanting people to eat, talk on the phone or even chew gum. Ok, I have a problem with not being able to chew gum at church. But should that be the…

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I Knew a Lot More About Life When I Graduated From College Than I Do Today

I’m sure I was smarter back at my college graduation days. Certainty was not a problem and I was prepared to take on the world. So I thought. But time has a way of teaching you lessons no one else can. So I’m a bit older and perhaps somewhat wiser, I hope. Here’s some of my certainties at age 22: Life is black or white. You’re either on the side of truth or not.  At 22 I saw a world with very few shades of gray. It was either right or wrong and ambiguity was the playground of the weak. God was precise and predicable. Somehow the God of my early twenties was more like a German engineer than an artist. He was like a machine with a defined pathway to action and subsequent reactions rather than a mysterious and yet gracious being who eludes being imprisoned by human intellect.…

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What Not to Wear at the Gym

For the Fashion Friday edition of my blog, I’m hitting the gym hard. Whether you work out at a private club, the Y, or a community center, your gym is a place where health, fitness and personal well being should rule the day. But it also can be a scary place where the lack of a published dress code can blur the line between appropriate sport’s attire and inappropriate and often objectionable wear.  Since we communicate a lot non-verbally with our appearance, I’m compelled to help a growing number of people who need a gym fashion intervention. The rules are always changing along with the times, but today, here’s my list of what not to wear at the gym: No shades in the gym. Even if you had eye surgery, stay home until you can walk around without looking like a goober. Wear white shorts only if—nah, just don’t do…

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