The Instant Impact and Lasting Effects of Introductions

I have been writing about how we introduce ourselves.  When I workout at the gym, there is a man who greets people warmly.  Every comment he makes is upbeat.  I was watching him closely.  A woman was standing nearby who looked like she was new.  She seemed uncomfortable.  He walked up, extended his hand and said, “I am sorry I do not know your name.”

His posture, his intonation, his face all communicated confidence and authenticity.  There was no reticence whatsoever.  The woman just lit up.

I thought, “This guy must be a leader at work.”  I jumped to that conclusion because this man has extraordinary positive influence.  He communicates it in the first moment of contact.  This reminded me of a similar experience with Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric.

Welch was on tour promoting a new book.  I was supposed to ask him some questions during a public television broadcast.  We were in a big room with lots of people.  He entered and was immediately surrounded.  Someone brought him through the crowd to meet me.  We shook hands.  He stood there, as if there was no one else in the room, and just stared at me.  The stare was unique.  It was a stare of respect and openness.  He created in me a feeling that he was waiting for me to share something, to enlighten him, to teach him.  It was so shocking that I froze.  He smiled and the person with him moved him on.  But like the new woman in the gym, I felt valued.  I wanted to be around Jack Welch.


  • Why do some people have an immediate positive impact?
  • What would you have to do differently to have a more positive impact?
  • What could you do differently today?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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