We all know the saying: You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression.
People judge you and frame you in a certain pattern from the first 7 seconds in which they interact with you, and the first impression does not change so easily.
Therefore, the first impression is vital especially if we are talking about a business meeting or a situation in which you have to demonstrate your entrepreneurial skills.
These seconds can make the difference between starting a profitable communication with partners and investors, and a failed attempt to obtain funds or other benefits for your company.
So how do you get people to like you from the first moment they see you?
How can you highlight your qualities and strengths and mask your weaknesses?
In today’s article, we have selected some tips for entrepreneurs who want to make a million-dollar first impression, every time.
Continue reading and see how many of these tips are you familiar with and how many you can apply and what you are missing, in order to improve your image at the next first meeting with a business partner or any other person.
Pay attention to posture and body language
The correct posture and body language go beyond the rules of sitting with your back straight and having a firm handshake to convey that you are a determined person – although these should not be ignored either.
When you first meet a person, keep an open posture (do not cross your arms or legs because these are defensive movements), lean almost imperceptibly in front of or towards the person when you speak and do not be afraid to take up as much space as you need at the business table.
What behaviors should you avoid?
A clever move is to give up the habit of touching your face too often, to place an object in front of you, as a barrier between you and the other person, to blink excessively or to be too close to the interlocutor.
Remember that, like you, everyone has a comfort zone, a personal space and you would not like a virtually unknown person to invade it.
2. Pay attention to what and how you’re saying it
Too loud of a tone conveys the fact that you are extremely nervous / agitated or childish – especially if you are used to finishing declarative sentences as a question, raising the tone towards the end of the sentence.
Basically, you signal that you have little knowledge about the subject under discussion, no matter how good you are.
On the other hand, a voice that is too low conveys the fact that you are authoritarian, emotionless, undecided or cautious.
Along with the physical appearance and clothing, the voice is one of the main aspects that contributes to that first impression in the first 7 seconds.
You need to be aware of the way you speak and the tone of your voice.
If you have a fast pace of speech, take a big breath before you start and aim to take short breaks between sentences, otherwise you will look like an emotional or careless person.
At the same time, do not slow down too much, do not be monotonous because you will seem like your mind is somewhere else.
If you are not sure how your voice sounds to others? record yourself as you speak and then listen. You will be surprised at how different your voice sounds from how it sounds in your own mind.
And give up interjections like “ah, hmm,” and other phrases that express hesitation.
3. Choose your words carefully
Words matter more than you think.
Positive and convincing words have the advantage of opening many doors, making people feel more comfortable and, in the end, wanting to work with you / for you.
Avoid whining even if before you reach the meeting another driver cut you off on your way and took your parking space or in the morning you woke up to the sound of your neighbor’s dog barking.
Instead, adopt a positive attitude, open and oriented towards those you talk to.
Avoid denials, approach any situation from a positive perspective and be clear.
Prepare a short speech about yourself in advance, in which you will say who you are, what you do and what you have achieved so far.
This information will help the people around you to better understand you, ask you questions and develop interesting discussions.
4. Look your interlocutor in the eye
Turn off your phone or at least put it on silent, block email notifications or instant messages, if you have an address book and a pen in your hand do not write hieroglyphs or who knows what else on it.
Be careful, focus on the person you are interacting with.
It’s kind of hard to know someone when they don’t even look you in the eye. So try to make eye contact with all the people in the room.
On the other hand, if others do not make eye contact with you when you speak, you can learn something interesting.
For example, if they are not convinced or interested in what you are saying, they will rather look at your mouth or any presentation material in the room.
6. Prepare in advance for the meeting
And here I mean the need to gather as much information as possible about the person / people you are going to meet and about the specifics of that meeting.
First of all, before you go somewhere where you know you will meet strangers – whether it’s a conference or your business partner’s Christmas party – find out in advance how things will turn out.
See who will participate and what will be the theme of the event. This way you will know how to dress and how to prepare for any topic that might be brought up.
Or, if you go to a meeting with a potential investor, learn as much as possible about him.
Remember his name, his occupation, the name of his business.
There is nothing more embarrassing than to apologize to the other person repeatedly for not remembering his name or, worse, for saying another name.
7. Don’t forget manners
Words like “please”, “excuse me” or “thank you” can work wonders;
In order to follow the rules of good manners, learn to listen to others without interrupting them in a rude way, wait your turn, be patient and, very importantly, be punctual.
Moreover, think carefully before you speak or react.
Also, talking on the phone, texting or doing anything else while talking to someone is not multi-tasking: it is “multi-rude” and can cost you “multi-million”.
8. For a first impression of millions, smile and be positive
There are many reasons to smile, whether you are in contact with a stranger, talking to your employees and partners or being a speaker in front of a crowd of people.
A smile makes you a more positive, open and pleasant person.
It helps your interlocutors to relax and convey confidence.
If you are frowning or too serious, people give back because you tell them that you are nervous, authoritarian and should be on the alert.
Moreover, it allows you to relate effectively from the start with an unknown person, regardless of the culture they belong to.
Even if you don’t speak the same language, a smile is perceived as a positive signal around the world.
And, even if you don’t expect it, smiling, you improve your mood.
Basically, it physically influences you, releasing endorphins and serotonin into the body.
9. Don’t try to be what you are not
It’s tiring and you won’t be able to play your part to the end.
If you do not know the answer to a question asked by your interlocutor,
There is nothing shameful to admit, not everyone was born learned.
The ability to admit your weaknesses and informational gaps tells people that you are aware of yourself and can trust your sincerity.
As we said at the beginning, the reverse is not a good strategy – it does not signal your weaknesses from the beginning, if the people you are talking to do not identify them on their own.
Most likely, a first meeting will not last long enough for the interlocutor to know you in depth.
This is why you can create a business card or even a “digital” business card that the person you are talking to can take a look at. First off, start with a logo from Photologo, made by professionals, so that you will stand out and then list your skills and experience.
10. Don’t forget to follow up on the meeting
After a first business meeting, don’t forget what to do next: send by email any presentation, any information you have been asked for, documents or, if this is not the case, send a thank you note.
These small gestures show people that you were really present at the meeting and that you are interested in continuing the communication.
In today’s article you discovered 10 tips and ideas that teach you how to make a first impression of millions, if you meet strangers at a business meeting, an event or any other situation in which you have to put yourself in value the qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
Apply the above tips and be extra careful with the first impression you leave on the people you meet.
Don’t let a negative first impression get in the way of your development plans.
These are the top tips that will make a killer first impression, no matter the circumstances.
If we were to sum all of this up, it would be this: you can grow the business of your dreams; all you need to do now is to start it. Take it slow, study each step from managing your time to market research and creating a personal brand.
Most people get stuck where they don’t want to be each day because they allowed their fears to overcome them. Yes, starting something new is scary, but I guarantee you, it’s going to be worth it.
You’ve got this.