If you work in a business, you are likely to know about the importance of creating a strong first impression. Whether it is starting a new job or meeting a new prospective client, a great first impression goes a long way. The stressful part of all this is that within seven seconds of your encounter, people will already have formed a comprehensive impression about you. More surprisingly, some research suggests that within a tenth of a second, people would already determine attributes such as trustworthiness and reliability.
A few seconds are most definitely not enough to speak about your credentials, history and background. It is also not sufficient to make up for an initial mistake you could have made. In most cases, people don’t have time for second chances, so you will need to hit on target immediately.
So what can you do to make a great first impression?
Experienced people can immediately identify if you are unprepared. Make sure that you have researched and can anticipate certain points and themes which may be addressed during your discussion. Giving people bewildered looks and constantly repeating that you will need to check about something, will definitely show that you have not prepared adequately for the meeting and will be dismissed as disorganised or incompetent.
When you are in a meeting or giving a presentation, it is important to maintain eye contact with the attendees. Failing to do so will give the impression that you lack confidence and are not sure of what you are saying.
You will need to ensure that you are respecting the appropriate dress code. If you go to a formal meeting in a polo shirt whilst everyone is wearing suits, you immediately give the wrong impression. People will judge based on your look before you even make a first statement, so it is up to you to ensure that you are dressed adequately.
Perhaps we may take this for granted. When one smiles, it communicates a certain degree of positivity and altruism. It promotes trust and can make you appear more approachable. Managing to give off a smile during the first seven seconds of an encounter makes it more likely for you to build a strong first impression.
Speak in a manner where others will find it easier to comprehend, without overwhelming them with plenty of information. Whilst you may be tempted to show off how much you know within little time, it will make you appear complicated and all over the place. You will also need to ensure that your audience has the necessary time to digest the information and pass on feedback.
Maintaining a polite posture which indicates that you are attentive is also ideal. Slouching and pulling your shoulders up are immediate warning signs that you cannot be taken seriously.
A first impression is critical. Adopting such tips will allow you to be more successful in your daily interactions.