It doesn’t matter how large or small your business, whether you work from home or an office at some point in time you’re going to have to attend a business meeting, an event or even a social function. One of the best ways to do well, at these meetings or events is to focus on creating a positive first impression.
Research the Audience
Every type of meeting usually has a specific audience type that will go to that meeting. If it’s a more universal meeting, research the people that you want to connect with that might attend. Know some facts about them and how they got their start, they’ll be impressed that you took the time to get to know them before meeting them.
It’s always a good idea to find out what type of clothing people will be wearing to the meeting or event. The more you can fit in due to your mode of dress, the more people will remember you in a positive way. Dress for the position you want is a good refrain, but be careful about the “power” suit or appearing too high above your audience because you want them to remember you and not have them leave thinking you’re stuck up and full of yourself.
Quirkiness can also be a good thing, provided you don’t take it to far, I personally love shoes and I often wear shoes that others notice, or a piece of clothing. This can draw people to you and help break the ice, so give your dress some thought.
When it comes time to introduce yourself, the person who puts their hand out first and states their name and gives their 30-second introduction is often the person who holds the power in the meeting. You should also be first to introduce the person you just met to others as they approach. This makes you seem very important and people will remember you more due to your kindness and thoughtfulness.
Ask Open Ended Questions
Most people are a little nervous at events or meetings but if you ask each person you meet open ended questions about themselves and their business, they will be put at ease. And oddly, the more people get to talk about themselves, the more they will remember you. An open ended question is one that must be answered with a sentence instead of a yes or no answer.
As you meet people and ask those questions, truly listen to their answers. Repeat back to them their name and the things they say in your own words, then ask them good follow up questions. This will make you seem like the most interesting person at the meeting or event because you are actually listening, and people so rarely listen. And as you repeat things back to the person you’re conversing with, it will also help you remember more about each person that you connect with.
One final way to create a positive first impression is by what happens after the meeting, always follow up with those whom you met. Use the information on the business cards you collected, or find them online, and connect with them in a new way. Send them a thank you card, or cut out an article and send it to them, or find a creative way to connect with them outside of the meeting. This will make you a truly memorable connection for them.