Trump in the UK: 3 Things to Learn about First Impressions
So, it’s Friday the 13th and Trump is staying over for the night (England’s Mum said he could, apparently). I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a bit of a bad omen. Look, I don’t claim to be a political aficionado and as a heads up, this isn’t going to be a really politically charged blog post. People forcing their opinions onto others isn’t a cool thing to do. That’s my opinion, anyway.
However, what I have noticed in the past 36 hours or so is that there are a couple of things we can learn from ol’ Trumperoo’s visit. On both sides of the coin, there are lessons that apply to the first impression you make: no matter what capacity you work in. Rock up a chair and hear me out.
1: Your Reputation Precedes You
I probably don’t need to explain why this is the first thing that came to mind. For those not clued up, I’ll quickly fill you in. (You lucky people.)
Trump’s 1st visit (and like, 3rd or 4th attempt) to the UK following his appointment as POTUS didn’t have the warmest reception. And by “not the warmest”, I mean “large inflatable parodies of his image as an orange baby in the city he’s visiting”.
Now, London politicians have it tough – May, Johnson and current Mayor Sadiq Khan all get a lot of flak. But none of them have people rallying together to mock your image en masse. A lot of this boils down to Trump’s controversial history. His policies have caused outrage and disdain from some, even in foreign communities not directly linked to the Trumpinator himself.
So what does this mean for everyone else? It means even if you’re arguably the most powerful man in the world, people will tell you if they disagree. These people don’t need to sit face-to-face or have a heart-to-heart with The Donald to decide that they don’t like him. If you make choices that go against someone else’s values, you may have a hard time gaining their favour. The same applies to everyone. If you’re prepared to upset people, prepare for the backlash when you’re in their home turf: whether that’s England’s capital or your workplace.
2: Never Go In Expecting A Great Deal
As things stand right now, Theresa May’s whole “Brexit will maintain and strengthen our ties with the US” thing isn’t really flipping Trumplestiltskin’s pancakes. In fact, he was quick to say that the UK’s strategy for leaving the EU will “kill” any trade deal we try to put in place. Awesome. However, since writing that sentence, I’ve just read that he called that quote and interview with The Sun ‘fake news’. If this was a movie, Lady and the Trump would definitely be an emotional rollercoaster.
The thing is, complacency and trust can often lead to disappointment. The same applies to a job-seeking environment. Try this:
“Hi Trump, I had an offer from the EU, but I’ve decided to reject them in favour of partnering with the USA.”
“But I haven’t made you an offer yet. I know the meeting went really well, but we’re still not 100% sure.”
Now, replace ‘the EU’ with ‘a different company’ and “the USA” with “your company”.
Would you reject a job offer out of pure confidence that you had another role coming easy? (Spoiler: no. You wouldn’t.)
3: You Can’t Always Win
This is a bit of a weird one. Don’t get me wrong, not every first impression is a conversation to “win”. Unless, of course, you’re Lil Trump. Then every first impression involves some weird ‘power move’ involving uncomfortably long handshakes and saying a lot of things while the other person doesn’t.
But let’s consider this brief recap of Big Donny T’s visit to the UK:
This is his 3rd attempt to enter the UK. Reasons for not coming sooner include Queenie not letting him the first time, and not wanting to deal with protesters.
Before landing, he was told that a mid-size group of Londoners were planning to protest against him anyway. Also, a slightly smaller group are making an effigy of his image in a diaper and launching it skywards.
Despite his previous shouts of alliance with the UK, he has a change of heart (for seemingly no reason at all, and certainly nothing to do with the things we just mentioned), labelling our soft approach to Brexit as weak (again, he has now backtracked over this and everything is happy days).
So, until now, this whole visit thing hasn’t gone great for May and Mr. Shake Yo’ Trump-ah. I’m sure both parties went into this with full intentions of co-operation, but you know what they say about the road to hell. Remember: even if things seem like a dead cert, assumption is preparations worst enemy. There’s no sure-fire way to seal an interview, or win friends. Unless, of course, you have a killer handshake.
A Final Thought On Trump
It occurs to me that this ‘not politically charged’ blog appears to have an agenda after all. Just in case you think I have a subconscious bias, here’s the evidence on the contrary: