So my last post got me to thinking: How exactly do you make a good first impression? How exactly do you take advantage of those first 7 seconds?
I researched this topic, and found some very valuable information from a post by Bill Lampton, Ph.D. 🙂 A lot of it is similar to information we have been learning in our BADM 726: Personal Branding class, and a lot of it is also similar to the current book I have been reading: The Power of Small.
Rule 1 – Focus attention on the other person
This is a piece of advice I seem to hear quite frequently these days. It is important to ask the other person questions. Show interest in them. Make them feel important. When I think about people that I instantly do not take a liking to, it’s usually people who speak only about themselves. With everything you say, they counter with a fact about themselves. Instead, start asking questions instead of stating facts about yourself. A small question will go a long way.
Rule 2 – Demonstrate superb listening skills
This rule compliments Rule 1. Maintain eye contact. Respond accordingly. Continue asking questions. Show interest.
Rule 3 – Use the name of your new acquaintance frequently
I learned this rule from a college roommate. We had constant issues with our apartment, and my roommate had a wonderful ability to connect with the office on a personal level. I realized she always listened to the name of the person answering the phone, and would respond with, “Hi <insert name here>, my name is Courtney and I need some help.” She would use this person’s name throughout the phone conversation, and it really made the conversation more personal. In addition, she always remembered the person’s name for future reference.
This goes the same way in the business world. My favorite quote a teacher said in class once was:
“Listen to hear. Don’t listen to respond.”
All too often when someone introduces themselves, we are thinking about what we will say next rather than LISTENING to the content. If you listen to hear, you’ll remember this person’s name. That person will feel valued.
Rule 4 – Be careful with humor
Don’t joke about something that could hit a personal note with someone else. Period.
Rule 5 – “Give up the need to be right”
Until you have established credibility with someone, wait to challenge their statements/beliefs. Confrontations are not a good way to start off a relationship.
Rule 6 – Don’t forget your appearance!
Face it: Appearance counts. People in this world are judgmental. Our appearance can dictate the respect we give to an event/occasion. The blog I received all of this information from stated that he heard a participant from a seminar he conducted say:
“I don’t dress for the job I have now, I dress for the job I want to have.”
Rule 7 – Speaking style has an impact
Enunciate. Alter voice tone to avoid sounding monotone. Use hand gestures when warranted. Be enthusiastic (to a certain extent!). It is all important in capturing your audience’s attention and maintaining their focus.