When it comes to making a first impression, we’re terrible for putting pressure on ourselves. It all spins through your head: first impressions are important, a first impression is formed in just seven seconds, we must ‘make a good first impression’ — with all of this weighing on our minds, no outfit seems good enough, every little detail threatens to derail our efforts.
Add in the pressure of closing a business deal or meeting a client and suddenly the stress can seem far too much.
Well, no longer. Take a look through our guide to making the perfect first impression and rest assured that you have it all in the bag.
Timing is everything
You can’t out-dress or out-talk being late to a meeting when it comes to first impressions. If your meeting is planned for a set time, turn up early. America’s former president, Eisenhower, was famous for his ‘when to arrive for a meeting’ philosophy, which meant that if you weren’t 10 minutes early for the meeting, then you were late.
As an added benefit, planning to arrive early gives you time to focus, relax, and also gives you some wiggle room if you do get a little bit lost. All of these factors can be crucial if you need to present to your potential clients.
Dress to impress
Like it or not, people are going to form an opinion of you based on your wardrobe at work. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think you would pay attention and sign a contract if the person standing in front of you was unkept? Probably not, so steer clear of those Converse trainers and ripped jeans — it’s important to dress like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as.
We advise a classic, sleek look for men. A nicely fitted suit with clean — an emphasis on clean — shoes will give the impression that you are proud of your appearance and are likely to take pride in your client’s needs, too. Women can also benefit from tailored clothing of conservative colours and patterns. Dark grey or navy should be staple colours in your outfit choice.
Reading body language
Don’t forget your body language — it can be very telling, no matter how fancy your word choice is! Be sure to smile, shake everyone’s hand who is in the meeting and keep good eye contact. Smiling will put potential clients at ease, offering a warm impression of yourself, while firmly shaking hands can command respect. Keeping eye contact portrays you as a positive person, while those who avoid eye contact can sometimes be seen as being ‘shifty’ or rude — not ideal for a business meeting!
Confidence in pronunciation
No one is impressed by a mumble. Nobody likes needing to continuously ask what it was you said. If this happens, your client could become frustrated, which will take away from all the good that may occur in your meeting. Having an accent won’t matter as long as you are clearly annunciating your words.
Keep everything running smoothly by enunciating clearly and crisply to avoid any confusion, as well as presenting yourself in a reliable and confident manner. It also allows you to build a relationship via small talk. Again, speaking clearly enables this to happen, as if they don’t understand you, they won’t engage.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a first impression happens at the front door. We’ve all heard of stereotypes revolving around certain types of car, but did you ever think about how this may affect any potential business deals? Audis are often stereotypically linked to businessmen and women, meaning drivers of an Audi A3 are often assumed to be in business. This can have a positive impact on any potential clients who see you pull up!
You’re all set! A quick five-step plan to help you land that all-important business deal. Remember, don’t drive a ‘boy-racer’ style car to your meeting, arrive early, dress snappy, be open and friendly, and make sure everyone can understand you! Master these points and you’ll have a great chance of getting the result you are looking for.