Making a great first impression will help you in many walks of life. Friendships, dating, artistry – and business is no exception. If you’re starting to run your own business, then you’re going to start making a lot of first impressions very quickly. You’ll be meeting with potential investors, clients, candidates for employment, and many others. And because you become the face of your business, the impression that you leave becomes the impression that your business leaves.
“Dress for success,” a lot of guides will tell you. This is generally taken to mean “wear a suit!” Sure, if you’re going to meet a bunch of people who are wearing suits, then you don’t exactly want to look like the odd one out. But as long as you don’t look completely scruffy and aren’t wearing a shirt featuring your favorite video game or anime characters, then it’s your behavior that will really be the focus. “Wear a suit” is a lazy suggestion. Stay comfortable, gauge the kind of company you’ll be around – but pay more attention to acting the part, not looking it.
Everyone should be a good listener, right? So why is “good listener” such a rare description for someone? It’s because a lot of people simply don’t listen all that well. They’re so desperate to get to what they want to say that their either interrupt or they lose focus on what the other party is saying. Make sure you’re asking the right questions – and then pay close attention to the answers. Give the other party enough room and time to ensure that they communication everything they need to. Never underestimate the power of revealing yourself to be a good listener.
Making sure you have all the relevant equipment and information is crucial. If you look unprepared for what’s ahead, then you’re just going to look like a bit of a rookie. Ensure that you know precisely who you’re going to be meeting, and make sure you are ready to swap details with people who could be useful contacts in the future. Business cards aren’t just for the upper echelon of businesspeople – they’re useful for everyone, not only decadent executives. You can use a Vistaprint business cards coupon if you want help getting your hands on some. The impression a good business card can leave can be unbeatable.
Engaged and engaging
Your body language can give so much away. If you’re not engaged, then people are going to be able to tell eventually. “Don’t be a slouch” is probably too obvious when it comes to advice about body language. One less obvious one is that you should never underestimate the power of a simple smile, even in “serious,” professional areas. Don’t let your focus on the task at hand translate into a strange sort of social awkwardness. Be friendly and make an effort to really engage with everyone you’re meeting.