Whether you’re welcoming guests who are visiting your business or training a new employee, the first impression you give of yourself is important. A good example of this can be found in your everyday shopping and dining experiences. When you walk in the door of a store or a restaurant, you’re hoping to have a positive experience. You like to see friendly faces, people who provide good customer service and are thorough in their position. This helps in your decision to stay to eat, or to buy from the store. People look for similar experiences when they’re in a business environment. Sometimes the first impression is all someone needs to hire a candidate, partner with a company or trust an individual. So how do you make a good first impression? Here are three basic concepts on what’s important and what to strive for:
- Be Confident! Confidence goes a long way. Even if you’re new to a company or not the most comfortable when meeting face-to-face, own what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re just meeting someone quickly or taking them to lunch, talk about yourself and explain to your guest or client what you or your company is about. Leave out the negatives, but accentuate the positive. Not only should you believe in your company, you should also believe in yourself.
- Be Genuine. I think it’s safe to say everyone has heard the expression “fake it til’ you make it.” I happen to love the expression, but it doesn’t always apply to certain situations. When you’re making a first impression, be genuine. Be who you really are (professionally of course) and don’t overdo it. If you’re not someone who is bouncing with enthusiasm, that’s okay. You can always bring the excitement when needed but refrain from going overboard to the point that it’s not believable. Most people value those who keep it real and appreciate it in the long run.
- Be Open and Smile. When you meet people, a smile can be reassuring. Meeting new people can be exciting and if they’re someone you’re bringing on board to your company, you should be excited! Smiling can also put those who may be nervous at ease. And depending on the situation, your guest, client or new employee may have some first day/first time meeting jitters. It’s your job to make the situation comfortable, smile and be open to their thoughts, and listen to what they have to say.
There are plenty of other tips and tricks but these are the three I ultimately try to remember when meeting someone new. Not everyone might like you, and that’s okay. But making a confident, genuine and open first impression is important. Because many people will base their opinions of you within in the first fifteen minutes. Make it a positive one.