The Bad Impressions Show

Dec 31, 2014

We’ve all fumbled a first impression at some point or another. Look no further than Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Before it was published in 1814, its working title was First Impressions which probably referred to protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s very first encounter – which as initial impressions go, was pretty abysmal.

But who knew getting off on the wrong foot was so easy?

This show is all about bad impressions. From bungling a business meeting, to what not to wear on a first date.

Plus, a comic tells us what happens when his go-to impression loses its appeal.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Dr. Vivan Zayas is a psychologist, and director of the Personality, Attachment, and Control Laboratory at Cornell University.  She’s done some work studying the science behind first impressions.

One of the most fashionable men in public radio is Jesse Thorn, host of NPR’s Bullseye. His tailored three-piece suits, along with his assortment of hats, scarves, and pocket protectors are striking for a thirty-year old guy working in a business where people are identified by their voice. Aside from steering a national culture program and running his own podcast network, Jesse is also host of Put This On, which he describes as a video web series about dressing like a grownup. Producer Taylor Quimby spoke to Jesse about how fashion can make or break a first impression.

Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands  is a series of books on conducting business abroad. To learn more, we caught up with Terri Morrison, co-author of the series, and an expert in business etiquette. Over the course of her career, she’s heard a lot of stories about people making bad impressions– like this one:

Rob Fleischman is C.T.O of a technology company and often joins us to explain the digital world, so, we asked him to share his tips on what makes a good elevator pitch.

For our next story on bad impressions we turn to a building.

They say beauty is in the eye of the holder, and that holds especially true for one mid-century structure right here in New Hampshire. Jack Rodolico brings us this story.

Bad impressions are often made in mere seconds, a sour face, an uncouth gesture, or even the tone of someone’s voice can leave a yucky taste in our mouths. But for comics, nailing down a good celebrity impression is an art form that can take years to perfect. Senior Producer Maureen McMurray explores where these impressions begin, and where they end, sometimes unexpectedly. You can find the transcript from Maureen's conversation with comedian Josh Ruben, and videos of Ruben and other comedians doing impersonations right here.

And that does it for today’s show. We do hope it made a good and lasting impression.

And we’d love to hear from you. Do you have a go-to impression that you bring out at parties and family gatherings? Perhaps you do a great Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, or Christopher Walken.

If so, we’d love to hear it. Leave a message on our listener line: 603-223-2448.

If your impression is more visual, you can also send us a video. Post it to our Facebook page Word of Mouth Radio.