Making a good first impression is like laying a foundation with the best materials out there. This foundation should be a well constructed mix of your trustworthiness and sincerity. This makes it easy for those in business to expend an effort in getting to know you and working with you. We make decisions about each other within seconds of meeting one another. Use those seconds wisely! Be sure you make a memorable and positive impression, quickly. The best way to hone your first impression skills? Practice.
Practice. You must practice until things become second-nature.
Part of your practice should include your ‘elevator speech’ – the story you tell someone in the 30-seconds you have as you travel between floors. Practice telling someone what you do, and in what industry. Determine how your speech should change depending on your audience. For example, if the company CEO is in the elevator following your job interview, your speech should be different from one in a hotel elevator with a stranger while attending a conference. Keep working on your elevator speech; find ways to talk about your business in an intelligent, creative, and interesting way.
Be aware of your signals. When you meet someone new, what signals are you sending? Are you pleasant and happy? Are you very serious? Appearing open, with a smile, can help send the right signal and provide opportunities for you to build a rapport. Remember that many times the best first impressions are created through mirroring the actions and language of the person with whom you’re speaking. What is their body language? What do they seem to value or hold in high regard? Do they have certain things in which they feel passionate? By mirroring the person you’re speaking with – modeling your own language and behavior to reflect theirs – you can often create an immediate good first impression.
Know your story; share your story.
- Be prepared with your Elevator Speech.
- Check your body language; appear open.
- Shake hands using a firm handshake.
- Establish eye contact.
- Smile! Let your smile reflect your attitude, and send the right signals.
- Be the first to introduce yourself.
– Tim S. Marshall, Author of “The Power of Breaking Fear”
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