You get no second chance to make a good first impression

Published May 21, 2022, 4:00 PM

by Carol RH Malasig

And some exciting things on PH-Swiss friendship and EU-Pinoy artists

Introducing oneself is an interesting yet tricky part of socialization. It’s a balancing act of telling people the interesting bits so that they can find something to keep the conversation going while making sure you don’t sound too full of yourself.

It’s something so basic yet can be very telling about someone’s character and personality. It can also make or break a connection. I’ll let you guys in on a secret: It’s something I keenly watch at diplomatic events or when I do interviews. One of my first questions is always a prod at someone to tell me about his or herself. After all, it’s best to hear it from the main source.

Part of socialization is being able to introduce oneself

I was recently at a diplomatic event where I was treated to someone’s long intro, which included tidbits about their childhood. Details that weren’t really for the first meeting as they’re better discussed over coffee, while sitting down. I’d love to share some of my tricks to get out of such a conversation but I’ll reserve that for much later, lest they get recognized before my husband and I retire.

While there are people who talk too much, there are some who consider it a power move not to introduce themselves during a social event to assert their importance. It works for people who are a) really famous and b) the hosts of the event since the guests need to make that effort to know who they are. I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen it backfire a couple of times. The latter is—and will always be—awkward for everyone.

Finding the balance between talking and listening is key to creating a good impression

Keep the bit about you as short as you can but make it interesting. Listen to the other person introducing themself to you and ask follow-ups to show interest, unless you’re not interested at all.

One thing I enjoy seeing is famous people or event hosts still introducing themselves to people. I once found myself talking to a famous actress at a charity event hosted by an embassy. I introduced myself and she did the same, saying her name without any expectation of me knowing her. She won me over pretty quickly with that. Same with ambassadors who go around introducing themselves by name to people at their own events. That’s a level of warmth that puts people at ease pretty quickly and isn’t that one of the important parts of socializing in these events?

SWISS X PHILIPPINES From left: Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin
Jr. and Swiss Ambassador Alain Gaschen at the new PH-Swiss Center

First impressions don’t necessarily last but man, do they help you become more likable. And call me old school but even in 2022, it still makes for a more effective diplomat. (Same goes for journalists, too!)

While there are people who talk too much, there are some who consider it a power move not to introduce themselves during a social event to assert their importance.

Philippine-Swiss Friendship Center

We’re currently marking 65 years of diplomatic relations with Switzerland this year. It’s a year-long commemoration so there’s quite a lot of activities happening throughout 2022 to celebrate, one of which is the establishment of a Philippine-Swiss Friendship Center inside the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

READING GENERATION DFA kids enjoyed a fun afternoon with Ambassador Gaschen reading to them some Swiss classics

The center’s main goal is for it to be used as a wellness space for employees. The embassy also supported the renovation of the daycare center within the DFA, even providing new toys and books for the kids. The embassy hopes that the gesture will symbolize the good relationship between the two countries, as it involves investing in the development of the children of Filipino diplomats.

“Our goal of building the future together is a manifestation of where we wish to take Swiss-Philippine relations this year,” said Swiss ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen. “We see the potential for mutual growth between our two countries and we wish to maximize the opportunities especially as we celebrate our 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations this 2022.”

65 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP From left: Swiss Ambassador Alain Gaschen, Louie Locsin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Daniela Gaschen at the Philippines-Swiss Friendship Center

The launch of the Friendship Center was celebrated at the DFA with an intimate reception attended by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and diplomats formerly assigned to Switzerland.

“Our relationship was formed, strengthened, and nurtured through people-to-people ties,” Ambassador Gaschen said. “It’s important that we continue to recognize this as we embark on the next 65 years when we build our future together.”

EU celebrations continue with the arts in focus

The European Union is hosting online and onsite experiences from May until June as part of their Europe Day celebrations. Viva Europa 2022 will showcase the best of poetry, visual arts, music, film, and architecture while opening up chances for creatives to share ideas in these events.

Viva Europa 2022 kicked off with a Visual Arts Exhibition entitled “Ebb and Flow: Return to Nature.” European and Filipino artists joined forces to show their advocacy for “Water” and marine resources preservation through paintings and sculpture. This exhibition runs from May 20 to 31 at the Yuchengco Museum.

ART CONNECTS Artists share their advocacy through paintings and sculptures

Curated by César Caballero, the exhibition will have artists from the Philippines, Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Finland, and Sweden.

Poetry readings through Bersong Euro-Pinoy are happening on May 27 along with other events creatives can enjoy. More information can be found on the European Union in the Philippines’ Facebook page.