Contest for "Best First Impression Story"

I am currently running a contest for the Best First Impression Story. Just email me a one or two paragraph story about a first impression you had about someone that illustrates credibility or the lack of credibility. Your story can be from your work experiences or your personal life. It doesn't need to be in fancy language, just a story from your great wealth of experience.

The prize for the best story is $100 dollars and a 30 minute phone coaching session with me.
The stories will be judged by three writers. Email your story to: by Friday March 15, 2011. Or if it is easier, just give me a call and tell me the brief story over the phone. My cell number is 678-358-6160.

Story Example
As a circuit judge, I read first impressions in traffic court. One day in my traffic court I had some one ticketed for running a stop sign. I tend to asses someone immediately if the person appears 1. -Guilty, 2. - Guilty, but he or she won't tell a bold lie, they feel bad or 3. - Innocent. My gut tells me this guy is a 2 - Guilty but willing to learn a lesson. Sure enough, during testimony he said, "I don't FEEL I ran the stop sign." I interpreted the use of the word FEEL and his body language to mean he knew he might have run the stop sign. So I had him take a video camera and tape 10 to 15 cars going through that intersection with the stop sign then come back to court. He came back in after viewing the video and with his face and voice expressed a mixture of wonder at the facts and embarrassment at his mistake and said, " I watched those other cars run that stop sign, and I realized I had run it too." I feel it is my job not to merely punish people but ultimately to make them better citizens in the future. In his case, I was glad he learned something and admitted his guilt and I let him off with a warning.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at