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TOTW 34: No 2nd Chance to create a 1st Impression

Tip of the week #34

As September’s theme is networking I wanted to concentrate on that all important aspect of creating a great first impression.


It takes on average just 7 seconds of someone seeing you before they draw that first impression of you.  In most networking situations that means they will already be forming an opinion of you BEFORE they meet you face to face.

Here are a few tips to help you create that great 1st impression.

• Be Yourself: don’t try to be something you are not, people want to get to know you so relax and be yourself. 

• Be Positive: if you are positive people will want to chat with you.  Negativity is a real downer on a conversation so show an interest in the conversation and interact positively with them 

• Feel Comfortable: Choose a look that is appropriate for the environment and dress for the occasion to ensure you feel confident.  Power dressing doesn’t work, you will spend too much time fidgeting and adjusting your outfit.  Being well presented is also about grooming, hair tidy and presentable, have clean hands and nails, and try to smell nice for the occasion. 

• Be Generous: it is true that givers gain so by listening carefully you can connect people where there is a genuine synergy.  I do this when I know both parties and can see a connection.  Be wary about connecting people that you have just met until you are confident in the quality of work they produce.  It's your reputation on the line too. 

• Have a Winning Smile: it needs to be genuine, but is so powerful, it can disarm and create a really positive vibe to the discussion. 

• Be Courteous: good manners are important, and meeting etiquette is no exception.  Introduce yourself then use their name in conversation to put them at their ease.  Ensure any humour is appropriate. 

• Be prepared: You should know a bit about the event, the organisers and why people are attending.  Use business cards to ensure people take your contact details with them. Have some prepared questions (see last week's tips email) and vary them, so they are relevant to the person you are speaking with. 

• Tell stories: use them to show the difference you have made to people through your business

All of this depends on the personalities of the people involved, and their ability to socialise and manage a discussion.

For someone who is a little more reserved, the first impression might be quieter or more reflective. 

A social and energetic person is more likely to connect with people quicker but in most business relationships they are not solely based on the first encounter.


Trust takes time to build, but negative impressions can lengthen the process.

Spend some time crafting that first impression because for some it is the one they will carry around with them long after your meeting.

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