Regardless of our business, profession or career choice, we all must be salespeople to some degree—mostly in how we sell ourselves to others through first impressions. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes most professionals make when they first meet someone is overselling themselves.
With the exception of impromptu first impressions, scheduled first impressions like sales calls, job interviews, first days at a new job and conference appearances possess numerous mental and physical issues that people can learn to cope with and overcome with proper training.
Here are six tips from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan that are designed to help make your next first impression one of your best first impressions.
1. Dress To Impress — Your clothes, your hair, and your hygiene are all factors that most people will base their initial judgment on. While it is true that the workplace is becoming more casual and less stringent about dress codes, it is always a safer bet to overdress than shoot low.
2. Listen Attentively — First impressions are not one-sided interviews. They are opportunities for whoever you are meeting to gauge just how quick you are on your feet and how genuine your interest is. Drifting thoughts or distant gazes tell a speaker that your attention is elsewhere, which is not only insulting but also leaves a poor first impression.
3. Use A Speaker’s Name — Memorize a person’s name and try to use it in the conversation whenever you can. Each time you include a speaker’s name you establish certainty of your participation in the discussion, personalize the moment and help make yourself more memorable in the process.
4. Be Articulate — For some, speaking articulately comes naturally. For others, it takes careful, conscious effort. That’s okay! It is better to pause and think carefully for a moment about what you want to say than to just blurt out the first words that pop into your head, especially if they are incoherent and easily misunderstood. Be sure to maintain a moderate pace while speaking, properly modulate your voice and enunciate your words.
5. Skip On The Humor — It’s one thing to be light-hearted, but humor is a fuzzy area. What one person perceives as an innocent thought or comment another might perceive as ignorant, racist, sexist, homophobic, classist or just plain rude. If any one of those previously mentioned faux pas are actually misconstrued during your first impression, you can pretty much kiss your chances goodbye.
6. Show Interest in Return — Whether it is a job interview or random conversation on a long train ride, all the skills listed above contribute to what the other party in a first impression scenario wants most from you: To show interest. Almost every job interview ends with the interviewee asking the candidate whether they have any questions. It’s those candidates that do have questions, who prove they were listening and thinking critically, that stand out from the crowd
Remember, It doesn’t matter if you are a recent hire at a business or the new CEO for some Fortune 500 company—the first impression you make is going to be what defines you for months to come. So, to make sure your first impressions go smoothly, heed the advice listed above. Dress for success, speak clearly, listen attentively and be wary of humor too soon. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to success.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.
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