It takes just a glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.
With every new encounter, another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, and they often set the tone for the relationship that follows. In a business setting, it is necessary to note that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
If you want your venture to succeed, it is essential that you take the time to get it right in the first instant. A business runs on personal communication as much as it does on money. If you want to be successful, those who have the motive to connect with you must receive the very best impression from the outset. Giving a bad first impression can lose you the confidence of prospective employers, customers, and clients, and even cost you your business.
Why a good first impression is important for your business
A positive experience can create long-lasting business relationships. Competition in the world of business is fierce; making a good first impression is vital. It can be the difference between impressing clients, gaining contracts, or even being left out in the cold. Making a good first impression involves every corner of your business, from employee ethics at the front desk to your interaction with potential clients.
Where to start
You create an impression in business with every person you meet for the first time. In a networking environment, in just a few seconds of your introduction, a person does a quick evaluation that can be difficult to undo. The following are tips on how to make an excellent first impression in your business
1. Always dress properly
Dressing appropriately is very important in first impressions. The appropriate dress shows that you respect your business and your customers. If you look successful and confident, then others will have more confidence in you as well. Since some industries have a more casual dress code than others, you should try to dress similarly to what others in your industry. Dress accordingly to the occasion.
2. Listen more than you talk
Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile, nod, & respond, not so much verbally, but nonverbally. That’s all it takes to show the other person he or she is essential. Then when you do speak, don’t offer advice unless you’re asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice does because when you offer advice, in most cases, you make the conversation about you.
3. Learn to shift the spotlight
Never think about what you can get, focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and a real relationship.
4. Be professional and confident
A new business contact should feel that you welcome new ideas. When you first meet a prospective client, you want to avoid giving the impression that all you care about are those things that benefit you or your company. Listen to what the other person has to say, comment on the positive elements of his ideas and let him know that the business relationship will be two-sided.
5. Disregard all your electronic devices
Especially your phone. Being on your phone equals rudeness and seriousness in most business settings. It indicates that you don’t care about what’s currently happening, and you aren’t fully committed or engaged.
6. Always be on time
This is merely good behavior and is non-negotiable. Do not be late! Being late always equals a bad first impression and is one of the hardest mistakes to recover from.
7. Use good body language
Your body language is one of the first things a person will notice meeting you. If your body stance is slouched and closed, you will send the message that you are not interested in the other person. Standing straight and naturally, with your shoulders back, arms at your side, and head up, indicates that you are interested and enthusiastic and ready to do business.
8. Break the tension with a friendly greeting
Showing confidence when you greet someone for the first time gives a good first impression. You should always do five things when meeting someone look them in the eye, give a firm handshake, greet them by name, say your name slowly and clearly, and smile. These will show the other person that you are positive and confident.
9. Be reliable
Reliability creates trust in a business relationship. When someone decides to do business with you, they want to feel that you will deliver the product on time, in quantity ordered, and to specification.
10. Create a professional website for your business
A professional website is a perfect way to create a lasting first impression. Your website is the front page of your business online, and it is crucial to create a lasting impact that sticks.
11. Engage communication on an authentic level
New entrepreneurs often fall into the mistake of talking too much about themselves and their products. People grow tired of hearing about other people. Engaging on an authentic level and asking lots of questions about the other person goes a long way toward getting them to remember you and your business.
12. Be original and polite
Don’t feel compelled to do what everyone else is doing. You can stand out and leave an impactful impression simply by being genuine and respectful. By being original, you will market your brand and image as authentic.
13. Make a human connection
When you meet someone new, try to find some common ground and make a human connection with them, rather than instantly asking them what they do. The best networking is done by building a real relationship with someone, not just swapping business cards.