How important do you think first impressions are? Maybe you believe people will like you more when they get to know you or hear more about your product, right? Sadly, your first impression is extremely important.
Studies show that confidence is more important than expertise and that first impressions probably matter more than you think. Unfortunately, there’s no class offered at the local college or university on making a good first impression. Which is why we’ve taken the time to shed some light on that very topic. Here’s a few ways that you can ensure that your first impression is a good one:
Build Credibility & Rapport
What most people don’t realize is that the game of sales starts before you open your mouth. Those who make the most of events aren’t flying in the day of the event and playing it by ear. Instead, they’ve already identified why they’ll be at this event and reached out to a few of the key players who will be in the room.
A simple direct message on Twitter or an Email could be the difference between you talking to a handful of people with no value to add and the chance to make a relationship that could change your business.
What You Say Is Only One Part of the Puzzle
Credibility isn’t the only factor you need to consider before opening your mouth. The initial approach is such a critical moment, yet it’s one that is often over looked. I was at an event a few months ago, and a guy walked up to the speaker as she was chatting with a few of the attendees and just stood next to her. A few minutes later, he lightly tapped her on the shoulder to make her aware of his presence.
Instead of approaching people with complete awkwardness, here are a few things you can do to make your introduction a bit more effective:
- Stop Being Desperate: A lot of times people go up to investors, potential clients with big pockets, and influencers with their jaws on the floor in awe. Instead of seeming a combination of both creepy and desperate, ensure that you seem interesting and worth meeting.
- Don’t Hover & Linger: If you’re competing with a handful of other people for someone’s attention, you clearly didn’t listen to my first point about building rapport or credibility before the event. You shouldn’t need to hover or linger around for their attention to begin with, but if you didn’t take that advice, strive to get their attention for just a few minutes when the time is right.
- Don’t Be Afraid: The more people you introduce yourself to, the easier this gets. The most effective way for me to get my head around this concept is to put myself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone walked up to you, introduced him or herself and struck up a meaningful conversation? I sure wouldn’t hate them. In fact, I’d probably have a normal conversation.
While it’s difficult to believe that we judge a book by it’s cover, we often do. We tell ourselves stories about the people we meet so we can better gauge whether or not it’s someone we want to build a relationship with. It’s human.
We can’t change the way we react, but we can most certainly influence the way others react to us. We can be more aware of how we communicate and how we position ourselves in situations like events and conferences. In doing so, we become more self-aware and can grow as professionals in an ever changing landscape.
What tips have you learned on the networking circuit that has allowed you to make great first impressions?