Don't Just Make a Positive Impression, Make a Memorable Impression
Making a positive impression is crucial, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or going out on a first date. As an Image Consultant, I get asked a lot about how to improve self-confidence and project the right image, which are both key to making a good impression. However, as we all know, it’s those first impressions that mean everything.
Did you know you have only 7 seconds to make a first impression?
It’s true. For this reason, many individuals come to me looking for advice on the best way to conduct themselves the first time they meet someone in a business environment.
While most of us have some ideas around how to make a good impression in a professional setting, we occasionally overlook certain details or ingrained habits. We might slouch, fidget with our phones, or let the conversation dry up to become an awkward silence.
How to Make a Positive Impression
The following points are what I consider the foundation to making a positive first impression.
- Have a good posture. Stand tall, shoulders back, chest out, arms relaxed, feet firmly planted.
- Dress appropriate to the occasion. Business casual or business formal with simple, but tasteful accessories.
- Put your phone away. Paying more attention to your phone than the person sitting across from you suggests that they are not as important.
- Smile and extend your hand when you first introduce yourself.
- Ask questions of the person you are meeting for the first time. People love to talk about themselves, which makes this a great strategy for keeping the conversation going.
- Offer your business card when appropriate, and tell this new contact what a pleasure it was to meet them. This shows that you valued your time with them and would like to connect again.
How to Make a Memorable Impression
Now, while making a positive impression is important, it is even better if you can make a memorable and lasting impression. Some simple suggestions on how to master this area to make an impact are:
In the world of first impressions, fashionably late doesn’t fly. Show that you respect others’ time. For every meeting or event you are invited to attend, you should always arrive 5-10 minutes early. If you are uncertain of the location, look it up in advance. Don’t leave it until you are flying out the door.
Do your homework
If it is your goal to meet certain individuals at an event or meeting you are attending, do your homework beforehand. We live in a digital world that allows us more insight into others’ lives than ever before. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google are valuable tools available at your fingertips. Do a little digging to find whatever information you think will help you feel more comfortable and confident in establishing a rapport with your new contact. What are their hobbies? Do they like to travel? Are they passionate about a cause? Find common ground that will allow you to strike up a conversion in a natural way.
Sometimes we can get so nervous about meeting someone new, we hide the parts of our personality that really make us shine. The next time you go to an important meeting or event, don’t forget to take your sense of humour with you. We live in a crazy hectic world, so sharing a laugh is always appreciated and it can help to reduce the stress of meeting new people.
If a person that you have just met has wowed you in some way – and hopefully you have wowed them in return — send them a short thank you note to say how much you enjoyed meeting them. If you plan to do future business with them, send them an LinkedIn invite to join your network. You can also call or send a text. This is important for doing business and maintaining relationships these days. It’s the little things that touch all of us, so don’t be afraid to let someone know how they have touched you.
I hope you find these tips useful the next time you find yourself mingling at an important event or meeting someone new, and want to make a memorable impression. If you’re looking for more personal insight on ways you can improve your image in order to grow your network and build your business, please remember I am here anytime you need me.