Making a good first impression topic of Great Dames event


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Great Dames wound up its spring Powerful Conversations series with a session on making a good first impression.

Speakers at the event at Harry’s Savoy Grill were Laura Sicola, owner of Vocal Impact Productions, Philadelphia andLinda Farquhar, founder of Wilmington-based entreDonovan, a wardrobe developer and the owner of a Wilmington boutique.

Sicola led a group exercise on proper introductions to the nearly 100 in attendance. She noted that most people don’t even pronounce their own names correctly.

According to Sicola, First impressions are verbal, visual and vocal in nature.


Subtle inflections, perhaps caused by nerves or background noise, can lead to lead to miscommunication of something as simple as pronouncing one’s name, Sicola said.

As for first conversations, the key is to confidently offer personal details without overdoing it. Also to be avoidis the “vocal fry,” a lack of breath support that leads to a bored, distracted or barely audible tone of voice, Sicola said.

Also to be avoided is “up-speak,” a pattern of raising the pitch in every sentence.

Those who don’t like their first or last name when making introductions were not let off the hook.

“Own your identity,” Sikola said

Sicola also took aim at the “dead fish” and the “vise grip” handshake.

Farquhar repeated the rule that you have seven seconds to make an impression. If things don’t go well, confirmation bias sets in with the other person looking for ways to confirm the first impression.

Acknowledging that women are judged more closely than men on their attire, Farquhar said it is important to know the culture of the company. Even a casual dress code can have variations.

That does not mean an individual should ignore their style preferences. She suggested taking a “step up” in adapting to the company’s culture, while maintaining a personal sense of style.

“Think about your own brand,” Farquhar said.

The Great Conversations series will resume later this year.

Also, Sharon Hake, founder of Great Dames, announced the launch of a peer counseling program that will keep the conversation going outside of events.

For further information of Great Dames, click here.

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