How good is your first impression? First impressions matter!
As an international violist, conductor, and speaker I have had the privilege of performing concerts around the world and playing for artists, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Natalie Cole, Paul Anka, Eartha Kitt and others. Watching these marvelous artists I learned the importance of first impressions and commanding attention!
It all began while playing for Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall for two weeks during his sold out concerts. I learned first hand, the importance of First impressions and how to command attention of your audience.
Picture this: Carnegie Hall is filled to capacity. Electricity fills the air. The lights are lowered. Silence fills the air. The orchestra is given the downbeat to start. Frank Sinatra, old blue eyes, smiles, walks across the stage with his hair precisely cut, wearing a perfectly tailored suit, looking tall, trim, and regal commanding attention. He makes eye contact with his audience making each member feel as a welcome guest to his concert. He begins to sing the song with clear diction, pronouncing each word clearly, painting a picture through words and beautiful phrasing telling the story of the song. Sinatra’s audience is mesmerized by his singing and could not take their eyes off him.
Frank Sinatra between songs tells a joke or a story. His concert is two hours of singing with an intermission. The concert ends with the audience giving Frank Sinatra a standing ovation. He smiles, bows, and sings an encore holding his audience spell bound. The audience leaves the concert with a smile on their faces.
What are the 3 secrets Frank Sinatra taught me about first impressions and commanding attention?
1) Be conscious of your image. Put on your best attitude. Stand or sit with your shoulders back and your head held high. Wear a smile, have your hair neatly cut and combed. Dress for success in tailored clothes that fit you well and make you feel successful. Sinatra even at rehearsals wore clothes that were tailored to fit him. He always wanted to make a good “first impression”. Belle S. Frank, my grandmother, was a women’s clothes buyer for a department store said it best, “Look in the mirror; what do you see?” Before leaving for work take a look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you look your best inside and outside. That includes having a good positive attitude.
2) Frank Sinatra looked tall, fit, and trim. Everyone is attracted to fit people. After playing with Frank Sinatra I decided to join a gym and exercise 3 times a week. Also instead of eating my favorite candy or potato chips I would eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable like celery or carrots. First impressions are important. They do matter!
While touring in Europe, I found some hotels did not have a gym. So I always travel with my therabands, exercise bands, to do exercises in my hotel room so I can keep fit. By taking the time to make exercise a part of your personal development plan, you will stay physically fit.
3) Sinatra made his audience members feel as if he were singing to each of them, by making eye contact with them. He sang a song with clear diction, so each word he spoke would be clearly understood. He painted word pictures when he sang, telling the story of each of his songs with beautiful phrasing. In telling his anecdotes, jokes, or stories between songs, he spoke clearly, at a moderate speed using a pleasing voice.
On my recent concert tour to China, after traveling a grueling 48 hours on multiple flights from Virginia to Xiamen, China, I arrived at their International Airport. The Manager of the Xiamen Symphony Orchestra was holding my photo up at the airport. He was dressed in a tailored suit, standing straight and tall, with his dark hair neatly cut and combed. He was about 35 years of age. I was dressed in a tailored dark blue ladies suit that did not show wrinkles. My hair was neatly combed. My viola case was over my left shoulder and my raincoat and concert dress was in a garment bag in my right hand. “I smiled back at Mr. M and he smiled back at me.”
I knew by the look in his eyes that we were going to get along well! His first impression of me was a favorable one. First impressions do matter and set the stage for the future.
As we drove to the hotel, I would be staying in, Mr. M said, “The hotel was just been re-named in your honor the “Music Island Hotel”.
I asked him, “What did they used to call the “Music Island Hotel”?
He said, “The Prisoner Hotel”. I thought he was kidding! “Why, I asked?”
Mr. M said, “When government officials did wrong they were placed in this hotel for safe keeping.”
When we arrived at the hotel I noticed the brand new sign over the building. Remember first impressions can never be repeated. So make a good one the first time.
Recently I saw the film “The Intern” at the local movie theater. Robert De Nero played Ben Whittaker, the 70-year-old retired phone directory company executive, who applies as a senior intern for a fashion company, About the Fit. The CEO and founder of the company is Jules Ostin played by Anne Hathaway. Ben Whittaker comes to the interview and latter to work, with his hair neatly trimmed and combed, dressed in a tailored suit with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He wanted to make a good first impression! The other interns coming for the interview looked like they just rolled out of bed. It’s all about dressing for success inside and outside.
Make a good “First Impressions the “first time”. Remember it can never be repeated.
Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She is a sought after speaker, Amazon.com Best Selling Author, business owner for over 20 years, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, teacher, and concert artist. Her new book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle.
For Madeline’s free ebook on “The Three and One-Half Secrets You Need to Tune Up Your Business” go to her website http://www.madelinefrank.com
and tap on “Media” and scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “Downloadable Media” for the e-book.