The room sounded like a loud roar. Everyone was anxiously waiting for the first presentation of the day. What new information would they be hearing? How would they be able to apply it?
The chairperson walked up to the podium and the room went silent. As she introduced the presenter everyone watched as the speaker, dressed in shorts and flip-flops walked on the stage.
What was said during the next 20 minutes was unheard by the majority of the audience. Most couldn’t get past the way the speaker looked.
First impressions can be very powerful. It could mean the difference between being asked to speak at an event or not. The first impression someone has of you could be the deciding factor as to whether they work with you or not.
In the infographic at the end of this article, you’ll see how first impressions matter. Did you notice the role body language plays? Think back to the networking events you’ve attended. How likely are you to walk up to someone and introduce yourself if they have their arms crossed? This could be an indicator that they are not open to a conversation. If a person walks into the room with their head down and avoids eye contact, their body language again is telling you they aren’t open to a conversation.
Should you find yourself acting like this at events, make sure you take action to change that and give the signal that you are not only open for discussions but you welcome them as well.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and yet that’s what most people do. Rather than put up barriers to someone working with you or having a conversation why not put into practice a way to make that first impression that best you can?
One way you can make a great first impression is by showing interest in the other person. Ask them what they do and what challenges they face in their business. Perhaps you have had the same challenges and can offer some great tips in overcoming that challenge. The next time you meet that person you can bring up the conversation the two of you had. They will be impressed that you remembered.
The next time you think of going on an interview, making a presentation or meeting with a client remember first impressions matter more than you think.