It takes about seven seconds for someone you meet for the first time to form an impression of you.
The image they get in that first seven seconds can last a lifetime. In business, your first meeting can set the tone for a long and beneficial relationship.
On the other hand, it can be hard to turn it around if you give off the wrong impression. So, you need to make it count.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can be at your best when you meet someone for the first time. We’ll also look at how you can come across well when meeting someone for the first time on a video call, as that’s where many first meetings take place nowadays.
OK, here are five tips for creating the best first impression.
1 – Do your homework
Time is precious. The best way to make an excellent first impression is to respect the person you’re meeting’s time and not waste it.
So, before you go to a business meeting, make sure you know who you’re seeing. Research as much as you can about them to understand who they are and why they’re meeting you.
Don’t be that person who has no idea what’s going on that everyone else has to bring up to speed!
2 – Show how good you are
Anyone can tell someone they’ve just met how great they are and why they should want to work with you. The best people show them.
Rather than tell people what you do, explain the problems you solve and the impact you bring. Use social proof to reinforce the message.
The person you are meeting will form the impression that you’re someone who does what they say, rather than someone who is all talk and no action.
3 – Be yourself
One of the easiest things to spot when you meet someone for the first time is whether they’re putting on a front – and it’s an instant turn-off. When you meet someone for the first time, be yourself, imperfections and all. Authenticity is everything.
What people really like to see when they meet someone is enthusiasm and passion. It shows that you value them and are excited to be in their company. It’s the best first impression.
4 – Listen
When you meet someone for the first time, you may be understandably nervous. After all, you want to create a good first impression that will lead to a great relationship. One of the things we do when we’re nervous is talk - a lot. Unfortunately, people tend not to take to people who talk all the time!
Instead, focus on the person you’re meeting and what they have to say. Ask them questions and listen to the answers. Let them do the talking. You’ll come across as much more confident and genuine.
Remember, when you’re having a conversation with someone for the first time, maintain eye contact and sit up straight.
5 – Making a great impression on Zoom
If you are meeting someone for the first time on Zoom (or Teams or Google Meet or anything else), it’s just as essential to make a good impression. Just because you’re not meeting in person, it’s still an opportunity to make a connection. Try to remember these tips:
- Dress as you would if you were meeting in real life - The first thing the other person will see is what you look like. So, you need to look your best
- Check your background – Make sure your background isn’t too distracting. You want the person you’re meeting to focus on you, not your bookshelves
- Pay attention – You’re not alone. No one wants to see you checking your emails or chewing your nails when you’re supposed to be making an impression
- Talk to the camera – When you talk on a video call, your eyes typically focus on yourself. Try to address the camera as it looks more personal; as if you’re making eye contact
- Listen – Just like when you meet in person, try to listen to the person you’re meeting rather than talk all the time. Mute yourself if something noisy is happening in your home
Follow these tips and you’re sure to create the best first impression - every time.
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