You probably know how first impressions work. Anytime we meet someone new we are making an impression on them within seconds. Some research shows that someone forms an opinion of another person within 7 seconds of meeting them. 7 seconds! This just goes to show how important first impressions are, especially in business. How can you make a good first impression? Check out some of these tips to help you out:
- Have a confident, firm handshake
Nobody likes someone who is wavering in their motions. They want someone who is confident and has no problem giving a nice, firm handshake that doesn’t last too long. Things have changed since this post was originally written. Some people won’t shake hands anymore and you don’t want to be the person diving in with the handshake or hug when the new person isn’t comfortable with any contact. So what do you do in today’s world where the handshake is out and the meeting is virtual? Here are 5 quick tips.
- Who are you wearing? Not who the designer, but who? Are you Hoodie casual because you are working at home or still a business professional.
- What is behind you? Showing the wall of a bedroom may be fine but make sure to look around you before you go live. These days one misplaced item and you become an Instagram star – not the good kind. Also, we all get a little wrapped up in virtual backgrounds on Zoom. While it may look cool to be on the beach or in a board room, if you don’t have the graphics card or a green screen to support it, it looks very amateur. If you can see blotches on your screen so can your online partners.
- Get ready for your close up. When you have everything ready, make sure the camera is eye level or just slightly above. Turn the software on for a preview and make sure everything looks good.
- What is that noise? Make sure you are in a place where as much as you can, the dogs not barking and the weedwhacker is not running right outside your window. When you are not speaking mute yourself “just in case. If you are using Zoom you can press the space bar to temporarily unmute your self so you don’t have to be looking for the unmute button.
- Can you see my screen? Practice switching from camera to screen a couple of times on a dry run before the meeting starts. If you don’t need the camera, make sure you have the screen sharing on before the meeting starts so no one has to wait around.
- Show interest
You can make a connection with someone you first meet by showing an interest in them. People love talking about themselves and it’s even better when there’s someone there to listen. Find out more about the person and make the conversation personal.
- Be authentic
Don’t talk too much about your product or your ‘pitch’ and let the person talk about themselves a bit. Get to know them and ask lots of questions. This type of behavior goes a long way and shows that you are willing to take the time to get to know them.
- Nonverbal communication
Not only what you say matters but also how you act, your facial expressions and your body language. Make sure to smile, use the person’s name whenever possible. Attention to detail goes a long way and shows that you care. An updated note here on using virtual meetings. Try to keep your hands from being a big part of the conversation. I personally speak with my hands and it has been hard to restrain myself. Keep them within the camera range.
- Make it about them
After introducing yourself find out more about them. Listen to what they have to say and figure out what their needs are. They will appreciate the fact that you listen and actually care about what is best for their business. What you can take back from this is to listen to your client. Show them that you care and that you are confident and you will be on your way to a successful business.
- Be Thankful
This is a very important step in developing a positive relationship and may help bring the relationship to a more positive position even if everything was not perfect on the call. Show the person that even though you met virtually you are real and care. Send a card. This little step helps cement relationships and a card sent in an envelope with a stamp on it has long-lasting value. An email thank you lasts seconds before it is discarded. A card can last days or weeks and make a lasting impression on people. Personalize the card. Remind the person who you are or what was important in the call. Share a picture or include their logo. Make it about them and be genuinely thankful that you met them. While there are other card-sending systems out there, I have found the one that works the best for me is Pixingo. Easy, inexpensive, and quick to use, They have a huge selection of cards that you can use off the shelf or customize. You can go here to sign up for an account for one dollar, get $10. free print credits, two stamps, and up to 70% off on cards. Click here for an account.