When you meet someone, how quickly do you think you get a feel for what type of person they are? How long does it take you to decide (even if subconsciously) how you will respond to them? There’s much debate over the time it takes to form a first impression – some say 2 seconds, some say 5, some 7 and some 9 but what is clear is that it is quick and less than 10 seconds!
It’s our human instinct that kicks in. Now whilst a less than positive first impression doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never build a relationship with that person, it means it will be harder. Research says that a negative first impression, for instance in an interview or at a new business meeting requires 7 positive things to occur, yes 7, to reverse the initial negative impression. Why would you want to make it that hard for yourself?
You are probably thinking,”I don’t do anything that negative, I’m sure it’s fine” but do you know what? People meet so many people, you need to be above average to stand out and be memorable!
Making a positive impression means that someone is going to be more disposed to listening to what you have to say, giving you the opportunity to build a relationship with them and making sure they really listen to you when you talk about which company you work for and what you can offer.
Think about who you choose to work with if you are picking a new supplier, wouldn’t you pick the person you like and trust, the person you have some sort of professional relationship with, if you had the choice?
How could you make it easier to communicate yourself more positively and improve your chances of winning business in the future?
55% of a first impression is influenced by the visual – your appearance and body language. Therefore, what you are wearing does matter. Is it appropriate for who you are meeting and the situation? Are you not only wearing the correct dress code but also, do the clothing and accessories flatter you and fit well? Do you look polished and groomed? If it looks like you haven’t bothered then that can subconsciously imply that perhaps you might have that attitude to your work. After all, getting dressed and looking tidy isn’t difficult…
Your body language is so important too, if it isn’t congruent with what you are saying, it is more likely to be believed than your words, so be careful! Think about open body language that is going to help people engage with you. Also, all those important elements – eye contact, smile, lack of annoying mannerisms…
None of this is rocket science but have you thought about how you come across lately? It’s very easy for us all to have blind spots about ourselves.
What should you focus on?
What could you improve to make it easier to build relationships and win business?
I want to help you be your best self, help you to be confident that you can engage with people positively so they get to hear about all you have to offer. If the initial engagement is at worst negative and at best mediocre then they are unlikely to really listen and your opportunity may be lost! There are lots of articles that I hope will help on my blog. If you have any questions, contact me.
Image: FreeImages.com/Toni Mihailov