Whether you’re meeting new customers, potential employers or team members – making a good first impression is always essential. Did you know it only takes 3 seconds to make a bad impression?
Plus you need as many as 8 positives to undo a bad first impression, so it’s best to get it right first time! This blog outlines some of the most important preparation tips to make a good impression.
Have clear objectives
Clear objectives will help you achieve the goals you have set for the final outcome of the meeting. Your objectives need to be realistic and achievable to make sure you can stay focused.
Profile the person/company
Have a good understating of who you are going to meet, this makes you look efficient and will also help you answer any questions or scenarios that might be asked.
When trying to sell or promote to someone new, establish that they will actually benefit from your product.
Have questions to ask
Questions that are suited to your objectives will not only help with conversation they will also show you are engaged with the person you’re looking to impress.
Check the location
Take a drive out to the location the day before to make sure you know exactly where to go and how long it will take you. .
Arrange suitable travel
When meeting someone for the first time you need to make sure the correct travel arrangements are in place especially if you have an extended journey (travelling by train or plane). Work out the various timescales to ensure that you arrive with at least 10-20 minutes extra time before the scheduled appointment time to allow for any minor delays.
Plan what you will wear
Assess what type of meeting it is and where you will be meeting so that you can plan your outfit and make sure you have everything ready for the day. When planning an outfit you don’t want to look too underdressed or overdressed, consider what other people in that environment will be wearing. However, you also need to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in what you are wearing.
- Make sure hair and nails are well groomed and shoes are neat and polished
- Refrain from wearing strong fragrances – no one wants to remind the interviewer of an ‘Ex’ when they want to create a good impression
- Tailor your wardrobe and makeup to the environment you are in or wish to be in
- Be relaxed, confident and try not to distract with personal fidgeting
Increase your general knowledge
Have a little knowledge of current affairs as this will make conversation easier and help avoid awkward silences – a good understanding of what is going on in the news is always a great way to impress.
Your attitude can affect the way people react to you as your body language and facial expressions will determine how people connect with you. A good positive attitude will help the conversation flow.
If you are feeling stressed or frustrated try your best to put it to the back of your mind and focus on what is happening ‘in the moment’.
Meeting and welcoming
When first meeting someone early decisions will be made by both parties. This is based on your appearance, body language, mannerisms, tone of voice, facial expressions, the words you use and your demeanour. Make sure when introducing yourself you speak clearly and politely making sure to avoid using closed questions and answers.
- Make eye contact
- Smile warmly
- Be friendly
- Give the person you are meeting your full attention
- Adopt a firm handshake – but not too firm
- Use open and inclusive body language
After a meeting it is essential to follow up with either a telephone call or email relaying next steps, providing presentations, documents or notes or even just saying thank you.
This not only makes you look good but will make them feel like they are your main priority.