When meeting with anyone in a business context, making a first impression is crucial to ensure the interaction is successful.
Many elements need to come together to make a positive, lasting first impression, which involves a bit of work before, during and after meeting someone.
Here are seven tips to stand out and make the best first impression you can:
1. Get your business card right
Keep it brief. Filter through the information and make sure to only include what is necessary. Name, company, title and website are great details to include.
But what about phone number, email and social media handles? This becomes a bit trickier because, while being reachable is important, it’s best to focus on methods of communication that are actively used.
If you always check Twitter but never answer the phone, skip the phone number and include your Twitter handle. To keep it easy to use, it’s best to keep all the information on one side.
2. Do your research
Take a moment ahead of a first meeting to learn some key facts about the people in the room and the business they operate. Their website is a great place to start – look for their latest blog post, newsletter or media release to tell you what’s important right now.
Make a conscious effort to listen to what people are saying. It’s easy to forget things when you’re nervous, like a person’s name. It helps to repeat what they say or ask related questions, and it also shows you value what they’re saying.
4. Say their name
This links back to the previous tip, but don’t go overboard. When used sparingly it’s a good technique to show they have your full attention.
5. Careful with the jokes
Humour can work fantastically to break the ice, but use it carefully until you have a clear sense of the tone of the conversation, as well as your new contact’s personality.
6. Be yourself
Most people can behave differently depending on whether they’re in a business environment or at home, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. People want to meet the real you and it will take some of the stress out of the conversation – and help both parties to relax!
7. Follow up
Sometimes the second impression can be even more memorable than the first. Take the time to send a brief follow-up note after the initial meeting (a handwritten one can be an even more memorable touch). This will not only serve as a reminder of the meeting, but will also show your willingness to go above and beyond.
Cathy Berman is the director of marketing (international) and global e-commerce at MOO.