Make sure your first impression isn’t your last!Meghana Sanka
In today’s fast-paced world, where people don’t even have the time for their near and dear ones, it is difficult to stand out and make a lasting first impression. But, as they say, a first impression is the last impression, and in a startup world, where wooing in clients is the name of the game, impressions matter.
It only takes seconds for someone to judge us. While the judgement can change over time, a first impression cannot be erased too soon. So let’s make it count by keeping in mind the following:
Image : shutterstock
We often get nervous. First meetings do that, and it is very natural to feel so. But remember that the other person might also be nervous. This could spell trouble if both parties have the jitters! Hence, be the bold one, take in a few deep breaths, tell yourself every motivational quote you know and then enter with full confidence.
Remember the name of the other person
This is very relevant and very important. Take note of the full name of the person you are meeting and remember it. The moment you meet them and shake their hand, address them by their name. This sends out a good vibe and sets the tone for the remainder of the conversation.
Assess the situation, then your wardrobe, then draw a long ‘hmmmmmm’ and finally, pick out a few choices and try them on. Once you like what you are wearing, carry it off! Let your clothes do the three second magic trick on the onlookers. The ROI (return on investments) of dressing up are many.
This is way past the three second stage. If you have made it till here, good job! Now comes the tough part. Awkward silences just make it well, umm, more awkward. Initiate conversations, even if it’s just small talk, but ask questions that elicit responses. Let the other person also start becoming comfortable. Conversations are the best way to know someone.
Avoid asking stupid questions
This could happen out of nervousness or the lack of topics, but try to control yourself nevertheless. Sometimes, we speak because we do not know what better to do. If you go to meet a person in his office, please don’t go, “Hmm...So you work here?” Don’t give them a chance to face-palm themselves. Any chance of making a good impression goes down the drain from there.
Make eye contact
Eye contacts are a good way to maintain a connection with the person you are addressing. If you keep looking about elsewhere, the person you are talking to might not understand what you are getting that. But don’t go extreme and try to creep the other person out by staring continuously. The idea here is to connect with the person, not to make them run away.
Even if you are goofy in real life, be that way during the meeting. As long as you crack smart jokes and hold the audience, you are good. Try not to listen to too many people; they love giving opinions. Do what you feel is right and, most importantly, be yourself. There is only of you out there, show them what you’ve got.
This is very important. People often judge others on their punctuality. Even if the other party doesn’t arrive on time, make sure you do. It sends out the message that the meeting is important to you and hence you are honouring each other’s time. This trait always goes a long way.
This is your most effective tool to leave a lasting first impression. They say a smile is a glimpse to a person’s soul. If nothing else works, let your shiny teeth do their wonder! Smile, but don’t overdo it.
Everyone loves talking, but very few like hearing, and even fewer like listening. Hearing is a pretence, but listening involves actually being interested and absorbing each word the other person says. The speaker mostly knows when a person is hearing or listening, so be as interested as you can and it will reward you back.
While conversing, try not to center conversations around yourself. The meeting is for both of you to know each other and form an opinion. Many times, though, people forget and go into their zone where they talk incessantly about themselves. We know you love yourself, but spare the other person and have a two way communication if the meeting really matters to you.
Close on a good note
Last, but most importantly, end your meetings on a good note. Give them your card or contact details, and ask them when it would be appropriate to contact them again. Assess the situation and end the conversation appropriately. In some cases, a handshake may work, in others, maybe a hug. Whatever be the case, make sure it ends on a positive note.
First impressions seem like a lot of work. Once you have turned on the charisma, work gets easier. You just have to be likeable enough. You don’t have to be their favourite. While you might eventually, being likeable good enough for the time being. So, go out there, run the points above in your head and make your mark.