Have you ever had that sinking feeling that you might have just made a really bad impression on someone?
To avoid making a bad first impression, follow these steps…
- Mirror them. On first meeting quickly assess their body language and voice pace. Do they move slowly? Use a lot of hand gestures? Speak in a calm, subdued manner? Subtly mimic (mirror) their body language and voice pace to establish a connection. To paraphrase Persuasion and Influence expert – Robert Caldini, “People want to deal with someone who likes them, and who is like them“.
I’m an extrovert, I speak and gesture “loudly” but when I meet a person for the first time that is more subdued, I dial down the “volume” so not too overwhelm them. There is a fine balance on how to do this, whilst still staying true to your personality.
2. Listen carefully. Pay attention to their words and repeat the same words (naturally) back to them in conversation . So, if they talk about their “kiddos” don’t speak about their “children” Don’t say “organization” if they’ve spoken about their “company” When using the same words, subconsciously your listener is saying “Mmmh there is something about this person that is very similar to me.” Like attracts like.
3. Don’t over-share. I recently met a real estate broker at a networking event. After her third yawn she apologized for her tired state and said, “Sorry, I got to sleep really late last night. I found out my fiancé has been cheating on me.” This is TMI – too much information. Don’t think you’re making an emotional connection by sharing this type of info on the first encounter. Instead of “bonding” you’re causing a disconnect.
4. Assume nothing. And if you do – don’t voice it. I’ve been guilty of this. At a law society event I asked a 22 year-old looking intern if he was enjoying his internship. He answered, “I did – about 20 years ago, I’m one of the senior partners at the firm.” Ask a few leading questions before making any assumptions. In this case I could have asked, “Where did you graduate from?” “Did you join the firm straight after college?” “How long have you been with the firm?”
At your next new client meeting, networking event or guest interaction use these easy steps to ensure you avoid making a bad first impression.
Click here, for more tips on how to get that first interaction to be powerful and lasting.
PS. Watch this video to find out how our “Packaged For Success” program will guarantee that you and your colleagues make ongoing powerful impressions.