“90% of most impressions are made in the first 30 seconds of a meeting and they are not based on the substance of your proposal.”
Your image is a critical but frequently ignored issue in starting a business. Whether we are communicating "one-to-one" over the telephone, "one-to-a-group" such as at a small business meeting or "one-to-a-hundred" as during a presentation, other people's impressions of us are very important and we should work hard to make sure that their first impression is a positive one. Here are some tips:
- Learn to Say: how are you, please and thank you.
- Understand the situation in terms of the audience, their needs and their style. In today’s diverse environment your attire, language, & aggressiveness must be appropriate to the situation.
- Research your audience or target before you communicate. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are great and easy sources to get information.
- Be professional in speech. Preparation is key.
- Be punctual, or call to defer or explain.
- LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN!
- Find common points of interest like occupation, school, where you grew up or family.
- Everything including business cards, answering the phone, dress and presentation are critical to the success of your efforts.
- Give your name, your company name and try to learn their name or names.
- Put a signature on your emails with name, e-mail address and phone number.
- BE POLITE! BE POLITE! BE POLITE!
- Dress and manage for the opportunity you want and not the one you have.
- Coordinate and match your wardrobe and be true to your style. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
- Understand yourself and the situation when choosing clothes, accessories and makeup.
- Incorporate humor and stories into your presentation.
- Vary tone, detail and emotion to create interest and avoid boredom.
- Start strong, close stronger and have an action follow up.
- Use visual aids, gestures, emotion and movement to enhance your presentation.
- Be prepared for surprises and don’t get flustered.
- Look at people when you are speaking with them face to face.
- Do not interrupt conversations, particularly with customers, to answer your phones or check text messages.
- Do not look at your mobile devices during conversations. Silence them.
- When in a meeting or a room full of people think about where you are positioning yourself with regards to the people you are communicating with.
Provided by Westchester SCORE