How to make the perfect first impression in a business meeting

September 21, 2018

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Making a first impression can be a nervous occasion. It doesn’t matter if it’s meeting your partner’s parents, attending a job interview, or trying to seal a crucial business deal, making a good first impression is very important. Surveys have found that it takes as little as seven seconds to make a good first impression. With so many factors to acknowledge, that is a very short amount of time!

Here, we take a look at exactly what is needed to make that perfect first impression in a business meeting.


Be on time
Your clients have a busy schedule. Make sure you don’t waste their times by not being punctual. If your meeting is planned for a set time, turn up early. America’s former president, Eisenhower, was famous for his ‘when to arrive for a meeting’ philosophy, which meant that if you weren’t 10 minutes early for the meeting, then you were late.

If you arrive early, you will avoid becoming stressed and you’ll be able to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. This can be crucial if you need to present to your potential clients.


Dress the part
Okay, so this may sound like an obvious point, but you can go a long way by dressing appropriately for your appointment. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think you would pay attention and sign a contract if the person standing in front of you was unkept? Probably not, so steer clear of those Converse trainers and ripped jeans — it’s important to dress like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as.

For the men out there, be sure to look clean and crisp from top to bottom. A nicely fitted suit with clean — an emphasis on clean — shoes will give the impression that you are proud of your appearance and are likely to take pride in your client’s needs, too. Women can also benefit from tailored clothing of conservative colours and patterns. Dark grey or navy should be staple colours in your outfit choice.


Body language
Again, this may sound another point that shouldn’t need mentioned, but all too often it is overlooked. Be sure to smile, shake everyone’s hand who is in the meeting and keep good eye contact. Smiling will put potential clients at ease, offering a warm impression of yourself, while firmly shaking hands can command respect. Keeping eye contact portrays you as a positive person, while those who avoid eye contact can sometimes be seen as being ‘shifty’ or rude — not ideal for a business meeting!


Pronunciation
Whatever happens, make sure you don’t make your words too hard to hear! Nobody likes needing to continuously ask what it was you said. If this happens, your client could become frustrated, which will take away from all the good that may occur in your meeting. Having an accent won’t matter as long as you are clearly annunciating your words.

It’s easier to get your point across if you speak clearly and this will help to make your meeting run more smoothly. After all, the smoother the meeting, the more likely you are to land that elusive deal! It also allows you to build a relationship via small talk. Again, speaking clearly enables this to happen, as if they don’t understand you, they won’t engage.


Vehicle choice
Were you aware that some first impressions take place before you even walk into the meeting? We’ve all heard of stereotypes revolving around certain types of car, but did you ever think about how this may affect any potential business deals? Audis are often stereotypically linked to businessmen and women, and with some great Audi A1 deals it presents a great opportunity to impress any potential business partners.

And that’s it! A short five-step plan that can help you land that all-important business deal in your next meeting. Remember, don’t drive a ‘boy-racer’ style car to your meeting, arrive early, dress snappy, be open and friendly, and make sure everyone can understand you! Master these points and you’ll have a great chance of getting the result you are looking for. 

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