Whether it’s meeting your other half’s parents, attending a job interview, or trying to close an important business deal, getting off on the right foot is crucial. However, first impressions can be tricky. Here's some top tips to help you get it right.
We’ve all been there. But when you only have an average of just seven seconds to make a good first impression, that’s not long at all — especially when there are so many factors to acknowledge!
Tip 1 – Make sure you’re on time!
In order to avoid unnecessary stress, we would advise you to arrive early for your meeting or interview. This will allow you to get a good feel of your surroundings and to compose yourself beforehand. If you’re responsible for presenting anything, being early would allow you to sort everything out ahead of time!
Don’t waste time by not being punctual as everyone is busy. America’s former president, Eisenhower, was famous for his ‘when to arrive for a meeting’ philosophy, which meant that if you weren’t 10 minutes early for the meeting, then you were late.
Tip 2 - Make sure you’re dressed accordingly!
How you dress is particularly important for an interview. Do you think you would offer the job if the person standing in front of you was unkept? Probably not, so steer clear of those Converse trainers and ripped jeans — it’s important to dress like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as.
Perhaps a nicely fitted suit with clean shoes is a good route to go down if you’re a man who’s rather unsure what to wear. This will give the impression that you are proud of your appearance and are likely to take pride in your client’s needs, too. Women can also benefit from tailored clothing of conservative colors and patterns. Dark grey or navy should be staple colors in your outfit choice.
Tip 3 - Maintain positive body language!
Be sure to smile, shake everyone’s hand and keep good eye contact. This will give off a warm impression, while firmly shaking hands can command respect. Keeping eye contact portrays you as a positive person, while those who avoid eye contact can sometimes be seen as being ‘shifty’ or rude — not ideal for any meeting!
Tip 4 – Don’t mumble!
Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve got a strong accent, this won’t matter as long as you are clearly annunciating your words.
Nobody likes needing to continuously ask what it was you said. Whatever you do, don’t mumble! If this happens, your client or potential future employer could become frustrated, which will take away from all the good that may occur in your meeting.
By speaking clearly, it’s easy to get your point across and it will make your meeting run more smoothly and, let’s face it, the smoother the meeting, the more likely you are to land that elusive deal! It also allows you to build a relationship via small talk. Again, speaking clearly enables this to happen; if they don’t understand you, they won’t engage.
Tip 5 - Vehicle choice
Sometimes first impressions can occur before you even walk through the door. We’ve all heard of stereotypes around certain types of car, but did you ever think about how this may affect potential business deals? Take an Audi A3, for example. What better way to present yourself than arriving in a car which is stereotypically linked to successful businessmen and women?
So, there you have it, a quick five-step plan to help you land that all-important business deal. Remember, don’t drive a ‘boy-racer’ style car to your meeting, arrive early, dress snappy, be open and friendly, and make sure everyone can understand you! Master these points and you’ll have a great chance of getting the result you are looking for.
Author: Jamie Roberts is copywriter at Mediaworks