Why Making A Great First Impression Is Important
You only get one chance to make that all-important first impression. So, as the saying goes,‘You better make it count!’
‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is another common piece of advice, but do we listen? Research shows that we make up our minds about someone in the first seven seconds of meeting them. On a daily basis, we consciously and unconsciously make decisions based on these seven seconds. This plays a major role in the corporate world. From the very first encounter with a person, you can gauge his character, professional attitude and competence. And just as you would judge your employees, your business partners and your associates in the very first meeting, you can be sure that they are judging you and your business.
Here are some top tips for making that all-important positive first impression:
1. Dress For Success
Dressing appropriately is the key. If you want to show yourself in the best possible light – dress neatly, iron that dress, stiffen the shirt collar and polish those shoes!
Presenting yourself well shows that you respect your business and your customers. If you appear confident and successful it means that others will have confidence in you too. Think of yourself as your own personal brand.
If you show up at a meeting poorly groomed it gives a bad impression, and suggests that you don’t care enough to make an effort for the meeting or the person in question.
Think about the kind of place you have to go to and the kind of people you will meet; try and tailor your outfit to what would be appropriate for the occasion. Put the best version of yourself forward – if you feel your best you will make your best impression.
2. Assess Your Attitude
A person’s attitude and body language are one of the first things we notice when meeting new people. There are certain traits that can give off a negative message. Your body language conveys your attitude- if you have your arms crossed, are slouching and avoiding eye contact - it creates the impression that you are not interested.
Your posture conveys your self-confidence and competence. Make sure that you stand with your back straight, head up and your arms at your sides, with your chin raised and make eye contact with those you are dealing with. The way you present yourself is a conscious choice and a positive attitude can speak volumes. Never underestimate the power of a firm handshake and a genuine smile – they are a sure-fire way to making a great first impression.
3. Be on Time
Always give yourself enough time to get there; anticipate the possible hurdles, such as traffic and adverse weather tat you may face and time yourself accordingly. Being late creates a negative impression of you and consequently will increase your stress levels.
Preparing ahead of time reduces your anxiety levels and gives you a little extra time to compose yourself.
4. Be Attentive
There’s nothing worse in a first meeting than feeling that you are not being listened to. Attentive listening builds up trust levels and helps to establish a rapport. Make sure that you leave time for the other person to respond to what you are saying. Never interrupt, talk over or try and finish off someone’s sentence – it can create the impression that you are in a rush or don’t respect his/her opinion. Take in information and ask questions based on what they are telling you, stay engaged in the conversation. Make sure that you minimize distraction - your new acquaintance should have 100 percent of your attention.
5. Be Yourself
Be genuine and don’t try to be something you’re not - often people can see through the façade. Remember that most people are anxious or nervous when they meet someone for the first time, so try your best to make them feel at ease (you will feel better too) take a few deep breaths, relax and be yourself.
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