the conversations blog

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Making a First Impression in Business

Wednesday May 18, 2016 comments

It takes five seconds to change your life. Don’t believe me? Five seconds marks the moment a first impression is etched in the mind of someone you meet. In that short time a potential client or associate will make a judgment call on your likeability, trustworthiness, and capability. It would be awesome if that decision was based on your intelligence or competency Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

So how do you rock your first impressions every time? The first place to start is with a familiar phrase: dress for the job you want. What you wear projects your confidence, proficiency, and care for yourself, which gives a good inclination as to how you treat your clients. We are all about representing your individuality. Just make sure you are dressed for the occasion and for attracting likeminded people. Your hair, make-up, and personal style should reflect the image you wish to portray. Appearance is also an integral part of approachability and trustworthiness. That means that, yes, you can tell your significant other that your shoes are a vital part of your success! (You can thank me later.)

The second aspect of making a stellar first impression is that it’s important to invite people to interact with you. A smile and an appropriate handshake or greeting goes a long way toward making a great first impression. Your body language plays a central role as well. If you’re standing with your hand on your hip, head tilted back, and a scowl on your face, you’re not going to seem very approachable. Stand straight, shoulders back, and make eye contact when you greet someone new. Keep the volume of conversation at an appropriate level. Too quiet will make you seem mousy and too loud will make you an annoyance. There are lots of resources out there about how to make yourself more approachable and an attractive conversationalist. One of our faves is Marie Forleo. Check out her blog about gaining self-confidence in biz here

Lastly, we give you our Golden Rule. Every potential client or contact you meet has a sign on their chest that says “make me feel important”. And I don’t mean false flattery and sucking up. I mean showing an interest in them, right then. Tilt your head to listen, make eye contact, become engaged in the conversation. Give them your complete attention, and you’ll gain their trust in that first impression. People want two things more than anything in this world. They want to know that they matter and they want to be heard! These two things are your secret weapons that will give you an exemplary first impression every time.

When it comes to conversing with someone your message will get across more effectively if you take the time to tailor it to the person speaking to you. Approach interactions from a standpoint of mutual benefits. Discover their pain points and find ways to partner with people. Those partnerships will transition to both work and referrals.

Remember, those first five seconds are the critical moments of rocking your first impression. Take time to work on your image, project confidence, and show potential clients and peers that they matter to you. This is your opportunity to meet people who get you, love what you do and enjoy social interactions with you. Go get them, rock star!

Need help developing your conversations with clients, potential customers and business partners? Check out our YouTube channel for tons of great advice and ideas on improving your conversations.

Here’s to good conversation,

Katie





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