Business Tips: How to make a good first impression

As the old adage goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Psychologists call it ‘thin-slicing’, making your mind up about someone in just a few seconds, but author of social science book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, believes that our first impressions are fairly accurate.

Think about it. When did you last meet someone professional and very quickly decide that they were successful, confident and trustworthy? How much impact did that have on what you did next?

In business we know that the little details can make a big difference in that first meeting, but it is often the most experienced of us that get into bad meeting habits and forget the basics.  With that said, here are our top five business tips that will help you make a good first impression in business.

1. Do your research before the meeting

There is nothing worse than forgetting simple details such as your customer’s name in your first meeting. Adding some personal touches to the conversation early on can really make a difference and help build a great connection.

Before the meeting, browse their social profiles and have a look at their latest articles or any comments on particular topics. What are they passionate about at the moment? Have they just been on holiday? Having these small memorable nuggets of information can give help you create a natural flow of conversation during the meeting.

2. Get your digital presence in order

 First impressions don’t just happen in person, a potential client or partner could have already made decisions about you and your business by browsing online. Make sure your own personal digital presence is in order, just one embarrassing drunk photo or unprofessional post could mean that someone already has a negative first impression.

This is also why having a professional company website is so important in a digital age. Make sure it truly reflects your brand values and has clear, concise and accurate information throughout.  Also, don’t be afraid to add a little personality to your digital presence – light humour can be a great addition to your blog or social profile.

3. Look the part

A British-Turkish study of 274 people had them look at faceless photos of men in tailored versus off-the-peg suits for five seconds. They tended to rate the guys in tailored suits as more successful.

While a tailored suit is the obvious go to, your choice of attire also depends on who you are meeting, the location of that meeting and your objective for that meeting. If you work in corporate finance or you are an entrepreneur looking for investment, then a fitted suit with sensible darker tones and block colours will help instill a sense of trust and reliability. In turn, if you work for a creative agency and want to prove that you have innovative and fresh ideas, then a splash of colour with a simple scarf or unusual tie will do the trick.

Of course, whatever you decide to wear, make sure it’s clean, well fitted and business appropriate. Ultimately, making a good impression is about being confident and approachable. The more you do to present yourself, the better your first meeting will be.

4. Details, details, details

It may sound cliché but those small details and thoughtful touches can go a long way.

If you are planning a large event and organising flights, transfers and hotels for your corporate guests make sure it runs smoothly. Plan in advance and make sure you discover any nuances such as food allergies early on. If you can greet them at the airport or have a welcome gift at the hotel for them on arrival with a personal message.

5. Be inspired and be genuine

There is nothing more off-putting than a forced smile at a meeting. Make time prior to your meeting so that you are in the best possible frame of mind. Go to a local coffee shop or take a moment in a local park and listen to music. Do whatever you need to do to feel inspired and well, genuinely happy.

Our mouth and teeth are often the first physical feature that someone will notice so having a warm and opening smile can set a good tone. Most importantly, your overall attitude and positivity can sometimes be the difference between winning new business and losing out. Don’t leave anything to chance and do what you can to be the best version of you.

Feeling ready for that upcoming meeting?

We hope that our top tips have given you some inspiration. Meeting new people can open some great new opportunities for you and your business, so be confident and don’t be afraid to stand out amongst the crowd. 

If you found this interesting, you may also want to read our tips on how to get smart with business expenses. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more updates.