First impressions – it’s not just the outside packaging
When it comes to business, first impressions can make or break the relationship. But how can you make that first impression count? The following looks at 9 ways to shine.
- Be prepared – if you have a meeting scheduled, ensure you have everything necessary to conduct a successful meeting.
- Be on time – you want to be ready to start before the person arrives. This gives you a chance to catch any last minute details that have been overlooked. If you are using a room, is it ready? If you need IT equipment, is it working? Do you have everything you need? This time is imperative to beginning a meeting in a calm and controlled manner.
- Know your environment – in this modern world, meetings can be held almost anywhere. It’s a good idea to consider where you are meeting. For example, if you are meeting at a café.
- Research – who are you meeting? Learn about the person prior to the meeting. Are they a client or a supplier? What is their business? Knowing the person shows you are invested in them. At a minimum, check their website. Other areas of information are blogs, newsletters or media releases.
- Business cards – a business card is more than just a name and numbers. It’s an opportunity to showcase who you are. What you are looking for is a card with clean lines with crisp fonts. Fancy font and certain colours make it difficult for the person to read the vital information and you may miss an opportunity to connect.
- Listen – successful conversations are a combination of not just speaking but listening. When you listen you are learning about the person, what is important to them and the message they are trying to share. This is your opportunity to learn what you can do for them. Ask questions and repeat your understanding.
- Not my name – make sure you know how to say the persons name. If in doubt, ask. Nothing upsets a person more than being addressed with the wrong pronunciation.
- Don’t be overfriendly – it’s great to relate to a person but you don’t want them feeling uncomfortable. Don’t tell jokes, swear or make inappropriate comments. You need to find the balance between friendly and professional.
- Follow up – if appropriate check in with the person with a phone call or brief email. Clarify any promises you have made or the expectations you may have.