Making a strong first impression was a big topic of discussion at the Women’s Empowerment Summit where I spoke Friday.
How you present yourself to others in the business world speaks volumes, and easily can be the most intimidating part of any job. People often form first impressions about you and the company you represent within seconds of meeting you. This is why it’s necessary to ensure that you interact well with others to enhance your brand.
Developing relationships is the key to developing business, and here are 13 tips to help you:
1. To make a great impression on others, you first need to make a great impression on yourself: the first sale is the one you make to you. If you believe in yourself, others will too.
2. Achieve a consistent idea of who you are and make it appealing. Fill in these blanks: The interesting thing about me is _________. The thing I do best is __________. I am passionate about ___________. I am known for __________.
3. Hone your people skills! Personality is a huge part of your skill set. It’s about using your key strengths to effectively reach and influence your audience. People remember less about what you said and more about how they felt when they were with you.
4. Smile, shake hands, and make eye contact. In studies conducted in UCLA, only 7% of the emotional meaning in a message is composed of actual words. 38% is communicated through our tone of voice, and 55% comes from non-verbals—facial expressions, gestures, posture. Dress and act like the professional you are. And have an open and relaxed stance.
5. Be, and stay, in the moment. It helps you get past self-consciousness. It helps you relax.
6. Take some pressure off yourself and focus on your audience. Ask questions and actively listen: What’s important to them?
7. Convey what you do in simple terms that captures your audience. Don’t sound like a resume. It’s the soft interpersonal effect that can linger, and leave a positive, lasting impression.
8. Stop clinging to the security of your friends and teammates. The main point in networking is to cultivate new relationships, so be out front and visible. More than an MBA—you need a master business attitude!
9. Know that many people are nervous in social situations. So try thinking like a host or a team player, and focus on helping others feel comfortable. That can help build your confidence too.
10. Use clever ways to convey your message. Some suggestions: Use numbers or percentages (e.g “In my work, I find there are 4 keys to success”); use contrast (e.g. “I’ve often found that people say this when they really mean that.”); and use stories about your own experiences.
11. Don’t think you need to be perfect to be confident. It’s OK to make mistakes. Don’t hold back and wait to be sure. Forget perfection and start taking risks.
12. Business is in the follow-up. Always have a final thought prepared, such as, “Let me leave you with this…”, and include a plan of action for next steps.
13. And finally: Stop over-thinking and doubting yourself. Action counters anxiety. Trust yourself and DO!
Here’s to your success!!
“Master Business Attitude” is a trademark of Michelle Kerrigan Inc. Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan