Sales Skills

Top Ten Strategies for Creating a Positive First Impression

Presenting yourself with a warm smile and a sharp appearance will allow you to create a positive first impression by conveying a message of warmth, competence, and physical attractiveness.

Because the first impression of you often lasts a long time and impacts your relationships, it is essential that you consider the following top ten strategies in creating a positive first impression:

  1. Be on time – Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late.  Arriving early is much better than arriving late and serves as the first step in creating a positive first impression.
  2. A winning smile – Smile and the world smiles too.  There is nothing like a smile to create a good first impression.  A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease.
  3. Body language – When it comes to first impressions, body language speaks louder than words.  Stand tall, smile, make eye contact and greet with a firm handshake.  Your body language projects confidence and self-assurance.  If you are calm and confident, the other person will feel comfortable.
  4. Dress for success – Physical appearance matters.  The person you are meeting with for the first time does not know you.  Your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.
  5. Be positive, courteous and attractive – A positive attitude helps to create a good first impression.  It also goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior will enhance the manner in which you are perceived.  Turn off your cell phone and give the new acquaintance 100% of your attention.  Manners really matter!
  6. Do your homework – Learn as much as possible about the person you are about to meet for the first time.  The other person will be impressed that you took the time to learn about them.  Google and LinkedIn are excellent research tools.  Doing your homework demonstrates your conscientious nature.
  7. Be a good listener – What do people enjoy more than anything in the world?  Talking about themselves, their goals, passions, hobbies, family, business, etc.  Your listening skills will create a positive first impression and get the relationship off to a great start.
  8. Bring an agenda – If your first encounter is a business meeting, come prepared with an agenda.  The agenda demonstrates that you value the other person’s time.  When they see their company’s logo on the agenda, it shows you are willing to go the extra mile.
  9. Eye contact – As your focus must be on the other person, eye contact is essential.  To make a good impression, you must have the other person’s complete attention.  Your focused eyes demonstrate interest and respect.  Wandering eyes show disrespect.
  10. Visualization – Mentally rehearse your initial encounter before it takes place.  See yourself smiling, relaxed and connecting with the other person.  Visualize how a positive meeting will unfold.  Visualization is a strategy used by successful people in all walks of life including, but not limited to, entertainers and athletes.  Mental preparation has positive impact and results.

You’ve heard you never get a second chance to make a first impression; now you know how to make your first impression a great impression.