You’ve probably heard the famous quote, “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.” by Will Rogers. You probably think that it is a pretty good quote, right?  And you put it into action each and every day, right?

When are the best times for you to make a good first impression?  While you are making new introductions at networking events perhaps?  When you attend a seminar or conference?   But for most professionals these only occur once a week, at most.

How did you day start today? Did you stop somewhere for breakfast or coffee?  Did you find yourself waiting in line to order?  Did you sit near some people that you didn’t know at the café?  Did you commute on the train or subway?  Did you make a sales call before going to the office?

If we really pay attention to the opportunities in any given day, there are lots of  seemingly unimportant situations where we could make a good first impression.  We simply need to be better at recognizing them as such.

Let’s break this down further.  How many times a day are you either asked or ask the question “How are you doin’?”    More than you imagine is my guess.  This question is often considered as the world’s “most overused yet overlooked question of opportunity.”

What responses are you getting and, more importantly, what response are you giving when asked that question?   The operative word here is “opportunity”.

Here are some common responses to this opportunity question.  How many of them do you use on a regular, habitual basis?




Fair to middlin’

Above ground

Hangin’ in there


Doin’, How ya doin’?

Middlin’ to great (I made this one up.)

Another day

Same ole, same ole

Another day, same ole sh*t

You know, another day another dollar

Well, I’ve got some challenges

Consider that Zig Ziglar used to like to say, ”Better than Good!”  That is the best response to the opportunity question that I’ve ever heard.  Have you ever heard anyone say that to you?

Omar Periu, a master motivational speaker and coach, likes to respond with, “Unbelievable!”  That gets attention and covers it whether you are doing well OR not so well.

I like to say “Better than ever!”  Few expect that kind of a response.

Here’s your 3 day challenge:

1)  Start paying attention to” How ya doin’” responses throughout the day.    Follow up on the spot if they choose to ignore the question or just blow it back to you.  Try to get something more specific.  Consider each interaction as a real opportunity to make an unexpected good impression.

2)  Monitor the results.  Did you start any meaningful conversations?  Were any new opportunities uncovered?  Did you have fun?

3)  Make a list of those people that gave you a positive or upbeat response.  Aren’t these the type of people that you would prefer to interact with or do some business?  Who are the positive responders in your office or on the job?

This little challenge might just give you a new appreciation for Will Rogers’ timeless quote.  Better yet, it might qualify some true business prospects for you.  Do you really want to do business with someone that is “fair to middling”?   (By the way, middlin’ seems to be defined as “slightly above average”.)

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author