Whether you work from home or work in an office, eventually you have to conquer the business meeting or social gathering that you dread. No worries though, anyone can make a positive first impression and leave with a few solid, new contacts.
Focusing on these 5 tips will help you turn the “dread” into “excitement” and the last one will set you apart from the crowd for sure because few people take action on this tip.
1. Research the Audience
Every meeting usually has a specific audience that will go to that meeting. If it’s a more universal type meeting, research the people that you want to connect with.
2. Dress Appropriately
Find out what type of clothing people will be wearing to the meeting or event. The more you can fit in due to your mode of dress, the more people will remember you in a positive way.
Dress for the position you want is a good refrain, but be careful about the “power” suit or appearing too high above your audience because you want them to remember you, not fear you.
3. Be First
When it comes time to introduce yourself, the person who puts their hand out first and states their name and and gets the introductions going is the person who holds the power in the meeting.
You should also be first to introduce the person you just met to others as they approach. Act like the host (even if you’re not) and people will remember you more due to your charisma.
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Most people are a little nervous at events or meetings but if you ask each person you meet open-ended questions about themselves and their business, they will be put at ease.
And oddly, the more people get to talk about themselves, the more they will remember you. An open-ended question is one that must be answered with a sentence instead of a yes or no answer.
Open-ended questions naturally lead to a longer answer and further conversations — which is what you want when you’re trying to strike up a conversation with someone.
And, you’ll find it easier to get the conversation going if you focus on something in common, like where you are at the time you start the conversation.
Are you at social event?
Are you at the grocery store?
Are you on the golf course? etc.
Some ideas to for open-ended Qs:
“What do you think about…”
“Tell me about…”
“Tell me how…”
“How do you feel about…”
“What do you enjoy most / or least about…”
Then depending on what they say, you could follow up with:
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me more”
Use these tips and I promise you that you’ll have your conversation going full swing in no time. 😉
5. Listen Actively
As you meet people and ask those questions, truly listen for their answers. Repeat their name back to them and the things they say in your own words (just don’t repeat it verbatim), then ask them good follow-up questions. This will make you seem like the most interesting person at the meeting or event because you are actually listening. And as you repeat things back to the person you’re conversing with, it will also help you remember more about each person that you connect with.
Biggest Secret to Make a Positive First Impression
One final way to make a positive first impression is by what happens after the meeting. Always follow up with those whom you met.
Use the information on the business cards you collected, or find them online, and connect with them in a new way. Send them a thank you card, or cut out an article and send it to them, or find a creative way to connect with them outside of the meeting. Be helpful and don’t rush the relationship, allow it time to develop.
These tips will help you make a positive first impression and build truly memorable connections!
You success is my business!