11 Feb First Impressions Can Make Or Break A Business Relationship
The first time you meet someone sets the tone for an entire relationship, and can be the difference between gaining a new partner, client or customer or not. Luckily, there are ways to increase the likelihood of a positive first impression by knowing what influences the way you are perceived by others. Your body language, mannerisms and how you present yourself are all details that influence the light in which you are viewed.
Dress to Impress
With first impressions formed so quickly, you want to hedge your bets by aligning your appearance with your goals. The way you present yourself is the first detail people will judge. It is far better to show up to an event, meeting or interview overdressed–being underdressed risks a negative first opinion. Clothing is not the only detail people notice right away, as there are several other superficial variables that will factor into the initial image others will see; hygiene, hairstyle and accessories all influence the outcome of a first encounter as well.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Success in sales, and business, largely relies on your ability to build and maintain your integrity. Everything you say or do builds or erodes the image you are building. Body language is one facet of maintaining your credibility that can throw a contradictory message to the image you are attempting to build. Standing tall shows the world you are ready for whatever challenge dares to step in your way; however, a poor posture demonstrates disinterest. Confident words spoken in a soft voice can tear down your ethos. Building and maintaining a strong ethos is key to leaving a positive image.
Stacking the Deck with a Good Rapport
Finding common ground and a bit of mirroring are subtle ways to build a positive rapport and influence a strong first impression. People are naturally uncomfortable with uncertainty, and the first encounter with a new person contains a high amount of uncertainty. Your ability to reduce the uncertainty and find out what you have in common with the other person will go a long way in forming a positive, lasting impression. One way this can be accomplished is through subtle mirroring, such as mimicking the posture, gestures and words of another person.
A first impression is so important because it can be nearly impossible to reverse once it has been formed. As a business owner, you attend many networking events and meet many new people every day. Being able to leave a strong image of yourself in the other person’s mind can go a long way for building connections allowing you to capitalize on even more opportunities for your business.