It is true what they say, making a good first impression is so important — especially in business. A first impression sets the tone for the rest of the meeting and even the foundation of the business relationship.
First impressions last and can be difficult to change once established. This is why it is critical to make a good first impression and set a positive tone for the rest of the relationship.
Here’s how to make a good first impression.
Dress in the proper attire. Wear professional business clothes to interviews or business meetings. Depending on the audience and occasion, a business casual look may be more appropriate.
Be on time
Arrive on time to the event or meeting. Being punctual demonstrates you are organized and dependable. It also demonstrates you are respectful of your colleagues
Have proper body language
People pick on non-verbal communication whether they are consciously aware of it or not — which is why it is important to have positive, welcoming body language. Maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking with. Use the power of a smile. A warm, genuine smile can go a long way. Stand up straight and have good posture to exude confidence.
Give a solid handshake
Extend your hand first and make eye contact. Don’t squeeze the other person’s hand too tight, but don’t make your hand too limp either. A handshake should be firm and brief.
Instead of making small talk about the weather, ask open-ended questions to find a commonality with the person you’re speaking with. It can be something as simple as having a shared favorite local restaurant or attending the same school. This will help you develop the business relationship.
Be actively engaged
Actively listen to what is being said. Nod your head and lean forward to show that you are paying attention. Repeat what the person says to show that you’re engaged and listening. Ask thoughtful questions that are relevant to the information presented.
Conduct some research on the people and company you will be meeting with. This will help you better prepare with the guidance above. Even some basic research can provide context on how to dress and present yourself appropriately as well as generate talk points and questions to discuss during the meeting.
Make your first impression count
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. By following this advice, you will certainly leave a long-lasting, positive impression at your next business meeting.