By the time you've shaken someone's hand and smiled at them, your first impression has made its mark. That's easy, but can you back up that firm handshake and friendly smile with what it takes to show your client that you are exactly who they are looking for? Read more to See How to Create a Great First Impression.
There probably isn't a person on earth who hasn't wished for a first impression do-over at some time in their life, whether interviewing for an important job or meeting a new client, making a great first impression is vital to success. To make it easier, here's a list of tips to take into account as you prepare for your next important encounter.
Have comfortable confidence
- In your appearance
As soon as you walk into a room, people take note of your appearance. It's obvious that you should wear appropriate clothing for the occasion, be neat, tidy and well-groomed. But, it's just as important that the clothes you are wearing are comfortable. If they aren't, you might seem nervous if you fidget with a skirt that's too tight or a shirt that's too close around the collar. When you are comfortable with your appearance you feel confident and people recognise and appreciate that confidence.
Give your wardrobe plenty of thought days before your appointment and if you need to buy something new, make sure that the fit is perfect.
- In your attitude
When you are making a first impression, your attitude does a lot to show your clients who you are as a person. So, be yourself, be authentic, open, approachable and friendly while remaining discreet. Remember that fine line between friendliness and indiscretion and don't cross it.
Because you are entering the room as an expert in your business it is imperative that you do not come across as arrogant. Be humble without being shy and convey your confidence through your speech, your body language and how you make your presentation.
- In your presentation
Being comfortable and confident when you give your presentation makes a lasting impression. Your clients will be paying attention to how well you know your material and how clearly you present it.
In order to do your best, prepare well in advance and practice in front of an audience. Come up with a list of questions that could arise. Knowing the answers will have a positive effect but if a question stumps you, don't let it shake your confidence, tell them you'll find out and get back to them immediately.
Have great physical presence
- Be at your personal best
To make a great first impression you need to be at the top of your game. Before you walk into the meeting, shake off all other thoughts, feelings and bad moods. Shift your focus to the moment and the people you are about to meet. Be prepared to be positive, energetic and upbeat.
- Be totally present
In order to make a great impression on someone, you have to be mentally and physically present. Don't let your mind drift away while they are speaking. This is not the time for distractions from random thoughts or electronic devices. Give your clients your undivided attention and really listen to what they are saying.
- Maintain eye contact
Maintaining eye contact with your clients shows several things: First, it shows interest in what they are saying and that you respect them. Secondly, what you are saying is important and will benefit them. Also, when you look someone in the eye, you come across as a more confident and sincere person. Share eye contact equally when there are more than one people in the room and if you are making a visual presentation, shift your gaze from the screen to the audience as often as possible.
A look or a facial expression is very revealing so make sure you are showing positive energy, interest and comprehension rather than disinterest, confusion or boredom.
Today's digital world means that your online presence is becoming more and more important but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't give your best impression to those you meet for the first time. We'd love to hear about your experiences, so contact us and tell us know how you have made your best impressions.