First impressions can sometimes make or break a relationship, particularly a professional one. If the first experience that someone has with you is a negative one, it can severely affect your chances of getting a job or landing a client. How do you effectively win people over, though, when you’re still relatively new to all this?
Don’t worry; you don’t need decades of experience in the business world to make a good impression on someone. There are plenty of simple things you can do to boost people’s estimations of you so that your inexperience doesn’t stand in the way. You’ll want to be doing these five things the next time you’re in an interview or wooing a prospective client so that you come out of that meeting a success.
Control Your Body Language
It’s not always your words that can decide whether or not a meeting is successful. Sometimes, your body is the one that does the real talking, and how you coordinate it can make all the difference in the world.
The problem with body language is that it’s not always easy to tell what you’re doing and whether it’s influencing someone’s opinion of you. You can come out of an interview thinking that you spoke with confidence and certainty, but the whole time, you were rigid, looking like a deer in headlights.
If you’ve never thought much about your body language and are worried about it betraying you, this guide should help you understand things a little better. It’s worth getting to grips with the various signs so that you present yourself appropriately in your meeting. That way, even if you’re terrified, an interviewer or client shouldn’t pick up on it.
Do Your Homework
One of the best ways to make a good first impression is not to be caught off guard. Naturally, that can be difficult to avoid, especially if the person you’re speaking to is intentionally trying to catch you off guard. Plenty of interviewers love to throw curveballs at candidates to see who sinks and who swims under pressure. It’s the latter who usually come out on top, and if you want to be in that category, you’ll need to do your homework.
Essentially, this means doing as much preparation as possible beforehand, so you’re less likely to be surprised. Researching the company or client is obviously a smart place to start, as this allows you to demonstrate knowledge of the person you’re talking to. It saves them time explaining or elaborating on anything, which instantly boosts their perception of you.
You need to go into the meeting with more than just an understanding of them, though. To counteract any unexpected questions, it’s essential to think deeply about what the company does, how it compares to its competitors, why it’s so beneficial to clients, etc. This is the stuff that will be harder to consider on the spot, but which could turn the conversation in your favour. Thinking about this beforehand will be worth it, even if it might be a little hard to get your head around at first.
Look The Part
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to get an immediate impression of someone the first time you see them. With that in mind, it’s important to always look the part in a business setting; otherwise, you risk putting people off.
How you should dress largely depends on who you’re dealing with. A small internet startup company might have different expectations from someone on Wall Street. The main thing is to ensure that your look gives off a professional vibe, even if it’s not a three-piece suit.
A good way to do this is by adorning your outfit with the right accessories. For instance, a luxury timepiece can insinuate that you’re smart and sophisticated, even if your clothes are a little more on the casual side.
If you don’t currently own one of these, you might find something of interest at Chronext. You can buy their Tudor watch collection online, a brand that’s been building in success for almost a century. Boasting high-quality timepieces that are robust, innovative, and suitable for both men and women, there’s something in this collection that’s bound to catch your eye.
Be As Engaging As Possible
Going into a meeting brimming with knowledge is obviously preferable, but you need to be careful about how you disperse this information. Don’t try and dominate the conversation by showing how much you know, as this won’t actually set a great first impression. You need to connect with the information and bring it out at relevant points to add to the discussion.
This is part of engaging during the conversation, which could be pivotal in whether your words are successful. Whoever it is you’re talking to, you want them to walk away feeling like the time they shared with you was worth something. That means you need to ensure the discussion was memorable, which you can do in several ways.
Asking them questions about their life – nothing too personal, though – is a good idea, as is finding something that connects the two of you. This might be something as simple as reading the same book, and it’s worth trying to identify this connection before the meeting takes place. If you locate something that binds you during the preparation stage, you’ll have a much easier time working it into your conversation naturally.
Utilize Your Strengths
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and when making a first impression, you want to emphasize the former while avoiding the latter. Don’t just come out and say that you’re good at x, y, and z, though, because it may come across as cocky, and the other person might not believe you. At the very least, you need to have evidence that proves why these are your strengths.
What might be useful is to ask others where you shine, and then find examples relevant to the business world. An interviewer or client probably doesn’t care that you’re a whiz in the kitchen, but they will be won over by data that shows you’re a quick writer or effective leader. Indeed has some useful tips on identifying your workplace strengths if you’re unsure which qualities people will find admirable.
Obviously, if you’re still an up-and-comer, it will be harder to demonstrate your strengths, and you may not even know what they are yet. However, that doesn’t mean you should discount showing this part of yourself. Both an interviewer and a client will want to know why you’re worth their attention, so you need to showcase what puts you ahead of everyone else.
In business, you often only get one opportunity to make a good impression. Failing to do this can cost you a job or a contract, which isn’t ideal. It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself, though. With a little prep work, the right clothes, and some decent conversation topics, winning others over is a lot easier than you might think. Just take a deep breath, psych yourself up, and show those people exactly why you’re the one they should be working with.