An impression is a big part of building your personal brand. Whether it’s a meeting with a client, a lunch with a potential business partner, or a sales pitch to a new prospect, the first impression you make goes a long way towards defining their perception of you.
Today I’m going to cover some of my favorite tips for creating a solid first impression. Most of these you’ve probably heard before - but we all can benefit from reminders now and then.
Start with eye contact and a firm handshake
You want to convey a message of confidence upon meeting someone for the first time. Deliberately make eye contact and give them a firm handshake. This sets the tone for your relationship and lends credibility to the brand you’re seeking to build.
Use their name often
People love to hear their own names. When you’ve just met someone, use their name often in conversation. This makes your exchange feel more personal and increases your chance of having their undivided attention while speaking. In addition, it will make it easier for you to remember their name the next time you meet.
Avoid sarcasm and offbeat humor
You may have a great sense of humor, but until you get to know your new acquaintance better, it’s wise to avoid anything but the most generic type of humor.
It would be awful if they failed to pick up on your sarcasm or were offended by a joke you told. You’ll have plenty of time to use your sense of humor as your relationship grows.
Your outfit plays a significant role in forming the first impression that you make. You don’t have to spend hours agonizing over what to wear - just make sure that you dress appropriately for the situation.
A casual Saturday morning meeting with a group of colleagues doesn’t call for the same level of dress as a weekday meeting with a potential business partner.
In addition, if there are specific colors that you want to be associated with your personal brand, take that into consideration. Don’t over think your wardrobe, but make sure it does not contradict the brand you are trying to build.
Everybody appreciates being a good listener. Not only is it an appealing characteristic, but listening allows you to get a better feel for your conversation partner. You’ll also get to hear from people you wouldn’t have otherwise by talking every chance you get.
Having a positive first impression is crucial to the success of your personal brand. The image you create is determined by a variety of details, many of which we covered above. Like many other things in life, the key is in managing the details.
Pay attention to your dress, your speaking patterns, and your use of eye contact. Creating a solid first impression paves the way for you to establish your personal brand and start any new relationship off on the right foot.