Ensure You Make a Great First Impression by Ellen Kaminsky

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May 13th, 2013
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impressionSuccessful entrepreneurs understand that good relationships lead to sales. And good relationships start with a great first impression. You have one chance to make a good first impression and the main thing to remember is it’s all about how you make that person feel. Here are my top ten tips for ensuring you make a great first impression:

  1. Sincerely try to keep a smile on your face at all times (have you ever caught yourself in the mirror and noticed you were frowning or had your eyebrows knitted together? Pretty scary, right?).

  2. Whether across the room, across the counter, or across the aisle on a plane, go out of your way to strike up a conversation with someone sharing your space. Make them glad you are there.

  3. Make eye contact first, then offer them a wide, genuine smile (it will disarm and cause them to relax).

  4. At networking events, be first to extend your hand and say hello (do not crush their hand, nor should you offer them a limp fish).

  5. Make a positive (and genuine) comment about something they are carrying, wearing, reading or doing – anything to make them feel good about themselves.

  6. Ask them how their day is going or, if you’re at a networking event, ask them what they are struggling with at work. Share the same about yourself. If you’re on a plane, offer them your pillow or blanket (even if they have one, you can always ask for another).

  7. Ask open ended questions to get the other person talking about something they care about. My favorite questions are: “What is the single biggest issue in your industry today?” “What’s your favorite new idea?” “What will you do differently next year?” “What book can you recommend and why?”

  8. Actively listen. Do more listening than talking and ask lots of questions. Look for areas where you can contribute ideas or solutions to problems.

  9. Do not simply wait for an opportunity to talk about yourself. Yes, you should be prepared to give short answers to the question “What do you do,” but don’t launch into a non-stop monologue about you, you, you. Keep the conversation focused on them.

  10. Offer to help them in some way. If the conversation seems to warrant, offer your business card and ask for theirs. If you tell them you will do something, by all means, do what you say and follow up quickly.

It’s key to remember that great first impressions begin before you open your mouth. Then concentrate on how you will make that person feel during your conversation. If they come away with a sense that you truly care about their needs, you will have made a fabulous first impression upon which you can build a good relationship that will benefit both parties.

© Ellen Kaminsky 

Ellen Kaminsky is The Elevator Speech Therapist™. 

gap_guide_deliberately_designing_your_professional_presence_perspective_newFor more suggestions related to designing your professional presence for success, you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to Deliberately Designing Your Professional Presence, which is part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series. The Get a Plan! Guide® series will give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion – so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.

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