How to Manage First Impressions

Want to make a good first impression on a sales call? It takes practice and planning to do it well.

Your business leadership approach should include a plan for how to make the best first impression. First impressions matter: and managing them means keeping a few things in mind.

Don’t Try To Dazzle With Brilliance

Wait, you may be saying, how can I make a good impression if I don’t show how smart I am? The reality is that you want to focus less on coming off as dazzling, but instead focus on being memorable. You’ll make a better impression by focusing on your listening skills and understanding what the other person is saying. Seek to understand first and make the other person feel great about their interaction with you. This advice helps you engage with others on what they care most about.

Express Your Own Passion

You want people to see what you care about and what matters to you. Be sure that they understand what energizes you, what you believe in, and what you care about. Your passion should also be expressed on your face and within your body language. Smiles, bright eyes, and engaging conversation go a long way.

A Word About Body Language

Your body language will say a lot and convey whether you are confident and at ease or nervous and wound up. Think about how slouching posture, distracted hair twirling, or disinterested gazes come across. The sounds you make go a long way too, from “mmm-hmms” to “I sees.”

Body language plays a major role in how you are perceived by others.

Fit The Part

Each workplace is going to have its own cultural norms that inform how people dress. A good rule of thumb is to dress in the same style as your boss. If she is in power suits and heels, you should dress accordingly. If he rarely wears a tie, you probably don’t need to either. If you oversee a team, you want to be sure that you have articulated the dress code you expect and eliminate ambiguity; For example, what does ”dressy denim” mean, anyway?

Listen … Then Listen Some More

It’s always best to not come in like a bull in a china shop. You want to take the right amount of time to listen and observe. Then frame some questions and listen some more. You do not need to fill the silences and you do not need to change everything at once. Listening and maintaining an objective perspective on what needs to be changed is always a good approach.

Seek Common Ground

If you want to make a good first impression, seek to find common ground with those with whom you interact. Understand their pressure points and concerns, and try to identify issues where you agree. If you cannot come to a consensus on the bigger stuff, maybe you can start with the smaller stuff and go from there.

Follow Up

If you want to make a good impression in your first few hours, days, weeks or months, adopt a business strategy to follow up on what you say you’re going to do. You gain credibility when you do so, and can lose it fast when you do not.

With a little bit of intentionality and forethought, your first impression will be a great one.

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