Start Off On The Wrong Foot? What To Do…
So let’s say that when you begin to interact with someone for the first time, you have your say and then something in what you say causes all of what you say and do to be rejected. Better known as starting off on the wrong foot, the opening slip trips you up and causes any chance of a meaningful connection to slip away.
What to do? Here’s my advice in a word.
STOP. Two more words. GO BACK. Two more words completes the plan. BEGIN ANEW. Because starting off on the wrong foot also means that you’ve obviously missed something fundamental to a successful connection, and until you recognize it and speak to it, you’ll not make progress in building the connection.
I once witnessed a waitress do this after things got off to a bad start with a table of restaurant patrons. The waitress was in a bad mood, unrelated to these patrons, but her mood effected their mood, and not long after that their behavior became, well, rude. Everything she said and did seemed to make things worse. And she became increasingly frustrated and confused by it.
Finally, she stopped trying to go forward. She actually unset the table, and without saying a word. It was like watching a movie in reverse. She picked up the menus, water, silverware, place-mats, everything. Then she came back to the table, and as she set down water for everyone, she said, “Guys, we’re starting over. Hello and welcome! My name is Denise, and I’m here to help you have a delicious meal and a pleasant afternoon. Can I bring you anything from the bar to get you started? “
The patrons laughed away the earlier difficulty, and at the end of the meal, left Denise a bigger than usual tip. As they should have. Because she had a smarter than usual response to rejection. She stopped. She went back. She began anew.
If you ever get off on the wrong foot with someone, if a conversation slowly or suddenly makes a turn for the worst, there’s no call to keep going, and every reason to back up, and begin anew. “I think we got off on the wrong foot. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to start from the top, and this time, really give you my best.”
That’s my best advice to you. Your comments and feedback are always welcome.