First impressions; they happen quickly and can make or break you. This concept grasps the truth in many situations such as job interviews, phone calls and first time meetings. The question is how to be sure you are giving a good first impression? What are some steps to prepare you? Listed below are several tips on how to make a great first impression.
Do Your Research
Know who you are meeting with beforehand and do your research. Think about what this person will need from you and several talking points that you feel are important. In your talking points, consider highlighting your knowledge of the business, success stories and questions for them. Generally speaking, topics will arise in conversation, but by researching beforehand this will ensure you have topics to discuss.
Know What Your Body Language is Saying
Body language can say more than you think. Your body language should show confidence and comfort. Remember to try and not fold your arms, slouch or raise your eyebrows at questions. Consider videotaping yourself before a meeting so you can see what you are doing right and wrong. No, it is not fun watching yourself, but this will show how others view you.
Believe it or not, your friends can help you succeed in achieving a great first impression. Reach out to your friends and ask them “how you come across to others”? If they give you some strengths about yourself, be sure to highlight those traits when you are presenting yourselves to new contacts. For instance, if you say you are dependable then, be prepared to provide an example you can share to show how you are. If your friends highlight some weaknesses you present, be sure to work on those before your meeting.
Find Common Ground
Find common ground with the person you are speaking with. Commonality could be anything from attending the same college, enjoying the same sports or your favorite food. You never know where small talk can take a conversation. Consider reviewing their LinkedIn profile before meeting. Creating small talk is a wonderful skill to have, so use it!
Just because the conversation has ended, it does not mean your first impression is over. To make sure that your first impression ends just as well as it started; consider writing a thank you letter or email. In your ‘thank you’ letter, remember to include a summary of the conversation. The summary should show what you learned from the conversation, but also showcase your personality!
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