Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
to Make a Fabulous First Impression
By Dave Block and Victoria Munro
You get only
one chance to make a fabulous first
impression! Business is built on relationships, and
typically those first few seconds
of an initial encounter will determine the direction
that relationship could take. The
key to making a great first impression is ensuring that
the other person feels important, allowing him
or her to bask in the spotlight.
Studies have repeatedly shown that
whenever we encounter someone for the first time, one
of two possible tapes begins to play in our minds: a
positive or a negative one. If the positive tape starts
to play, any subsequent impressions or actions that
are negative will likely be dismissed as unimportant.
Conversely, if the negative tape plays, any positive
information received will similarly be dismissed.
Most of these responses and reactions
are processed on a subconscious level. Making a spectacular
first impression is a skill
that can be developed. Use the Seven
Simple Steps below to help you succeed:
Eye Contact – The windows to your soul
reveal the truth about your sincerity. Maintain good
eye contact. Failure to look directly at the person
can convey a lack of self-confidence.
No-No: Never look around the room at others before
you’ve established rapport with the person in
front of you. Doing so communicates the message, “I’m
really more interested in those people across the room
than in you.”
Shaking Hands – The
way we hold another’s hand will convey presence
and enthusiasm or send a negative message. A
firm handshake, with your thumb notches contacting each
other, will earn you positive points. Maintain the contact
for at least two seconds.
Facial Expression – Always
display a warm, sincere smile. The slower you
smile, the more sincerity you communicate – showing
that you’re developing a true appreciation of
him or her. Consciously thinking a positive, affirming
thought about the person will automatically produce
a natural smile. It will also generate the right tone
in your voice.
Name Recall – Everyone’s
favorite word is his or her name!
Remember and use a person’s name. This lets them
know that they’re important to us and, of course,
our number-one objective is to make them feel special.
Mastering name recall is a matter of motivation, technique
and practice. Click
here to check out some easy techniques.
Body Posture – Energy
is key! One of the best ways to energize yourself
is to dwell on a positive thought about the person in
front of you. “What a warm smile!” Or, “I
really enjoy his enthusiasm!”
Stand straight, with shoulders back
and chin high, leaning forward very slightly when talking.
Keep your body “open” at a slight angle,
rather that directly face to face, thus giving them
more “personal space” and allowing a greater
level of comfort.
That Initial Question – Set
the tone for the conversation. Begin the dialogue
by asking a question about the person himself or herself
that reflects sincere interest, and makes the person
feel important. You may find you can help them in some
way. Even if your newfound
friend isn’t a potential client, as you
get to know each other, you may discover that he or
she is acquainted with several likely candidates for
your service or product and would be delighted to recommend
you to them.
The Conversation – Honor
the person and make them feel special by expressing
genuine admiration. Compliment them in a sincere way.
For example, “What a great outfit! Are you an
image consultant?” “You have a wonderful
spirit about you. Are you a life coach?”
Look at the person speaking and nod
often. Chime in with the occasional "I see,"
or "I understand," indicating that you are
listening carefully. Pay close attention to the conversation;
those little details may be useful in the near future.
No-No: Never interrupt. This clearly informs
your new friend that you are not focused on what he
or she has to say but have simply been waiting for an
opportunity to speak yourself.
met people whom we instantly like and want to
get to know more or do business with. These people are
usually following the steps above to make a strong initial
impression in those all-important first 30 seconds—and
you can do the same. Making
a great first impression is an essential aspect of successful
networking. It’s a skill that, with the
right motivation, a little effort and some practice,
anyone can perfect and profit from.
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Authors: Dave
Block and Victoria Munro are co-founders of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small business owners through creatively-designed programs
and tools. Dave is known as the “Master Networker”
in the business community and loves sharing how to become
a successful business owner by learning the art of networking.
Victoria has started and run nine different businesses..
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