Did you know you only have 7 seconds to make a strong first impression? Whether you a meeting a prospect or client for the first time, going to an interview or setting the bar for a new employee, that is not much time! Regardless of the situation, those first 7 seconds in meeting someone new in the professional world are crucial. Rather than stress about all the pesky little details on how you should handle yourself, we put together a list of 7 important things to do in order to show off your best self in those first few seconds of interaction in your Arizona office space.
1. Prepare yourself
Put together a quick, 20-word blurb about who you are and what you do in advance of your meeting. You can even piece together a mini speech on your company, experience, education or position. This will help you avoid any ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ when you introduce yourself.
2. Do your homework
Learn as much as possible about the person or people you will be interacting with in advance. This will help you demonstrate knowledge of their company, industry, background, or whatever it may be to make yourself more impactful and put your mind at ease. Moreover, try brainstorming a few open-ended questions that are specific to the situation because if you find yourself in a bind you’ll have some speaking points to fall back on.
3. Be aware of your body language
A great deal of human communication is nonverbal. Body language can be the decider of a situation’s atmosphere. When meeting people, stand up straight, make eye contact, and give a firm-but-not-too-firm handshake. Avoid crossing your arms, touching your hair or fidgeting. These are all signs of tension and nervousness.
4. Dress for the occasion
Your clothing is more than fabric and buttons; it is a representation of the dedicated, hardworking person you are. Let your clothes reflect your professional goals and accomplishments. Even though workwear can be more casual throughout Arizona offices, it is better to dress up a little more for a first impression rather than show up underdressed. Not only will it impress others, you can use your outfit as a confidence builder.
It’s contagious! According to Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Ph.D., a psychology researcher at NYU, “People judge smiling faces as trustworthy, and angry-looking faces as untrustworthy,” (BuzzFeed). Not only does showing your pearly whites make you appear friendlier and more trusting, smiling has been found to lower anxiety and stress and increase endorphins. The chemical rush will put you on your A-game, making you less nervous and more alert.
6. Give compliments
Compliments can be great conversation starters or silence fillers. Compliment someone’s outfit, the styling of their resume or clever coffee mug. As long as you are genuine in your word choice and inflection, a thoughtful compliment can go a long way.
Taking a personal call or answering a text during a meeting is not just unprofessional, it is downright rude. As hard as it is in today’s world to disconnect from our devices, silence your phone prior to entering a meeting, or better yet, leave it in another room altogether. You want as few distractions as possible to devote your full attention to the situation, and if you know you’ll be tempted by your phone then it is best to have it out of reach.