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Making an Excellent First Impression in Business

– Contributed content –

(Goumbik, Pixabay)

24 May 2019. In business, first impressions are everything.

If your clients and customers get a positive first image of you, then they are more likely to trust and respect you as a business leader. If you convey a negative first image, your clients and customers might assume that carries over into other areas of your business, and that might sabotage your long-term relationships with them. This so-called ‘halo effect’ is unfair we know, because there are some people able to give a good first impression yet who perform terribly elsewhere, and there are those who, for whatever reason, give a bad first impression, but who might ultimately be excellent in business.

According to studies, a person’s judgement of us can take place within 7 seconds. You might understand this already because chances are, you might have created an assumption about somebody on first contact because of the way they dressed, or because of the mannerisms that they exhibited. Hopefully, you would have the grace to look beyond any bad first impressions, because you might want that favor extended to you with the people you meet in business.

We all deserve a second chance, after all. But to ensure you don’t make a terrible first impression with the people you meet, let’s focus on what you can do to win them over to your side quickly.

#1: Focus on your physical appearance

Especially when attending important business meetings or when networking at trade events, you really should make an effort with your appearance. Your clothing matters, so ensure you wear a professional-looking suit that is tailor-made to fit your frame, and ensure your shoes are well-polished too. Then be sure to wear a tie that matches your outfit, as you need to think about color-matching.

Studies have suggested that the colors you choose could have an impact on first impressions when meeting somebody new. Matching colors create a better impression than contrasting colors according to the previously linked article, so think carefully before pairing that bright orange tie with your dark suit!

#2: Focus on your body language

When meeting a potential client or business partner for the first time, you need to carry yourself in the right way. You want to convey an image that is confident and powerful, so stand up tall, pull your shoulders back, and firmly plant your feet on the ground. Be sure to smile too, as you need to show an air of friendliness. Lean forward when you are being spoken too, as this will show that you are being attentive. And give good eye contact, so an not to look unconfident (such as looking at the floor) or rude (such as becoming distracted by other things in the room).

These nonverbal clues are as important as the words that come out of your mouth, so practice in front of a mirror if you have to, as you will then be able to inspire confidence from the people who matter to your business.

#3: Focus on your behavior

Here’s what not to do when you first encounter a client or customer. Don’t interrupt them when they are speaking. Don’t look down at your phone every few seconds. And don’t blurt out words without thinking! To make an excellent first impression, you need to listen more than you talk. You need to make the person feel like they are the most important person in the room. And you need to think before you open your mouth because one ill-thought-out word could instantly derail the impression you are trying to convey.

The way you act is part of what it means to be professional, so for that positive first impression, don’t take any liberties with the other person. You will only get their back up, and that could affect the way they act around you.

#4: Focus on your brand

Making an excellent first impression is not only about the way you look and behave. You need to think about the way you showcase your brand, as well. This includes the brochures and business cards you give out to others, the website you create for your online image, and even the badges you wear when walking around business conferences. If any are shoddily produced, potential clients might assume this is reflected in your service or products.

Therefore, do the sensible thing and use a professional printing company for your promotional material, acquire the services of a web designer for your site, and visit or any similar company for your lanyards and badges. These, along with the outfits you wear, the body language you convey, and the way you respond to others, will improve your professional image and help you make that excellent first impression.

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