The saying that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is well-known and over-used for a reason. Do you know what your first impression is saying about you? If it’s anything less than “hire me, I’m trustworthy and awesome” then it’s not doing you justice. Below are a few tips to help turn your first impression into a lasting impression, and if you need more advice, you could chat with a professional company like Predictable Success who can help train you in presenting your best self.
Think about what they can see
Of course this includes clothes and style—that goes without saying—but it’s more about body language. Once you are on show, whether it’s when you step forward to greet them, as you sit in the waiting room or even as you get out of the car in the parking lot, you should look relaxed, confident and approachable. This means head held high, phone away, lots of eye contact and smiles for everyone you pass, and sitting upright (but not rigidly) as you wait. It’s a careful balance of professional demeanour and still appearing to be happy and comfortable. And remember: don’t continually check your phone.
Offer your hand
Offering a handshake is an open, inviting and confidence-filled action. It welcomes your new friend/colleague/boss without being presumptuous, and a good handshake can make you stand out from a crowd. If necessary, practice your hand-shaking abilities, as they are key when first meeting others. Make sure your hands are dry and firm, but do not enter into a hand-crushing contest.
Use their name
When speaking to a new acquaintance or colleague, don’t be afraid to use their name, and to use it more than once. Using someone’s name shows you are actively speaking to them and seeking a response. It also demonstrates your ability to focus. If you can, use the name they used to introduce themselves, but of course stick to the more formal version if you are unsure. This tip extends to anyone that you meet—other bosses, colleagues, receptionists and anyone else in attendance. You’d be amazed how many people talk to one another about great (and horrible) experiences they have with new people.
Have your details ready to go
Nothing says ‘prepared’ like business cards ready to be handed out, so keep yours close at hand. If you’re going to keep them in a pocket, just make sure they don’t get crushed when you sit down or bend over. Make sure you also have several ready, as it can be an awkward situation to start handing them out, only to find out you don’t have enough for the extra three people you didn’t expect to be meeting. Always follow up by asking for their business card, and then you have their details so you can send them a quick email later.
These are just a few tips to help you make a stellar first impression. What is your best tip for a positive first meeting?